J&K set to get paramilitary forces in advance for deployment in Kashmir; Rajouri-Poonch..

Jammu and Kashmir will be mobilizing large number of companies of police from different battalions for smooth conduct of Parliamentary elections in the Union Territory being held in five phases beginning April 19 in addition to the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) being deputed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Official sources told the Excelsior that additional CAPFs will be deployed in the entire Kashmir valley and twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in Jammu region for sanitization operations and strengthening Anti-Militancy Grid to ensure that the militants don’t manage to carry out any strikes to vitiate political atmosphere in the Union Territory prior to or during the Lok Sabha elections.

“As usual entire Kashmir valley will get top priority as far as security is concerned. However, equally important are the border districts of Rajouri and Poonch whose most of the Assembly constituencies fall in Anantnag-Poonch-Rajouri (APS) Parliamentary seat,’’ the sources said, adding though there has been no major terror incident in the two districts this year so far, last year witnessed deadliest strikes by the terrorists against security forces in which 20 Army bravehearts sacrificed their lives while a large number of terrorists were killed.

Asserting that additional CAPFs will start reaching Jammu and Kashmir by the end of this month for advanced deployment in vulnerable areas, the sources said the companies stationed in the Parliamentary constituency where elections are being held in first phase will also be rotated to the segment going to votes in next phase as there has been gap of a week or even more between the phases.

Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha constituency will go to polls in first phase on April 19, Jammu-Reasi seat will have voting in second phase on April 26, Anantnag-Poonch-Rajouri in third phase on May 7, Srinagar in fourth phase on May 13 and Baramulla in fifth phase on May 20.
Sources said the timing between the election phases is enough to rotate the paramilitary forces from one constituency to another. However, in addition to rotation, the CAPF companies will be deployed well in advance in every Lok Sabha seat for sanitization operations to keep the terrorists at bay.

Sources said Jammu and Kashmir Police will also mobilize its reserved battalions of JKAP and IRP for election duties excepting those which are posted on security related duties for anti-militancy operations.
The Election Commission of India has already approved 635 companies of paramilitary forces in Jammu and Kashmir and 57 in Ladakh for smooth conduct of polls.
Jammu and Kashmir being always on the target of Pakistan as well as militant outfits of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) is being given maximum number of CAPF companies to ensure peaceful elections—be it Lok Sabha or local polls like Municipalities and Panchayats etc. Assembly elections in J&K haven’t been held since 2014.

Of 635 paramilitary companies assigned to Jammu and Kashmir, 36 will be retained for Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)/Strong Rooms guarding and counting centre arrangements.
The Union Territory of Ladakh which is completely peaceful and has only one Lok Sabha segment has been allotted 57 additional companies of paramilitary forces. Out of this, one company will be retained for EVM/Strong Room guarding and counting centre arrangements.
Jammu and Kashmir divisions have two complete Lok Sabha seats each while fifth seat (Anantnag-Poonch-Rajouri) is divided between the two divisions. In 2014 and 2019, BJP won both Jammu division seats including Udhampur and Jammu where Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma emerged victorious. Both of them are seeking third term from the same constituencies.
Ladakh seat has also been captured by the BJP for last two consecutive terms and the party is eyeing to retain it for third time in 2024.

In Jammu and Kashmir, in addition to Udhampur and Jammu Parliamentary seats, the BJP is focusing on Anantnag-Poonch-Rajouri constituency which has large number of Pahari voters who were recently conferred Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by the Central Government.
Barring BJP and People’s Conference, no other major political party has announced candidates in J&K so far. The NC has announced that it will be contesting three seats of Kashmir including Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag but hasn’t named the candidates. Similarly, the Congress will field its candidates in Jammu and Udhampur constituencies. The PDP is yet to take any decision on how many seats it will contest.

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