Polling Perplexity: Mufti Raises Red Flags Over Anantnag Elections

Anantnag Police said detentions are very few and restricted only to those with a tainted past, based on inputs of potential threats to security on polling day.

Mehbooba Mufti of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party on Saturday, May 25, alleged that her party workers and polling agents are being detained in police stations “without any reason”. Mehbooba Mufti also claimed that complaints regarding the efforts to “tamper the EVMs” are being received.

Mehbooba Mufti, who is a candidate from Anantnag–Rajouri Lok Sabha seat in South Kashmir where voting is currently underway, is sitting on a protest along with party leaders and workers.

The PDP president also claimed that outgoing calls on her mobile number have been suspended without any explanation. Live Updates on Lok Sabha elections 2024 “I am not able to make any calls since morning. There is no explanation for this sudden suspension of services on the day of polling in the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency,” Mehbooba Mufti told news agency PTI.

The PDP also flagged the issue in a post on X.

“Just ahead of the polls, Ms. Mehbooba Mufti’s @MehboobaMufti cellular phone service has been abruptly snapped. Yesterday evening and in the early hours today, scores of PDP workers and polling agents were detained across polling belt,” the PDP wrote.

On Friday, Mehbooba Mufti had written to the Election Commission claiming that PDP workers and polling agents were detained by police. “Many of our PDP polling agents & workers are being detained just before voting. When the families went to the police stations they are being told that it’s being done at the behest of SSP Anantnag & DIG South Kashmir. We’ve written to @ECISVEEP hoping for their timely intervention,” the PDP chief had said in a post on X.

The Anantnag Police, however, claimed that detentions are very few and restricted only to those with a tainted past, based on credible inputs of potential threats to law and order and security on polling day.

“Claims were made by a political party that their workers have been detained. Firstly, detentions are very few & restricted only to those who have a tainted past and based on credible inputs of potential threats to law and order & security on polling day. Mostly they are OGWS & are taken into preventive custody for ensuring a safe & peaceful election,” the Anantnag Police wrote.

Mehbooba Mufti is contesting against National Conference (NC) candidate Mian Altaf Ahmad. Zafar Iqbal Manhas of the Apni Party is also contesting the polls, making the contest a triangular fight.

Earlier, the Election Commission had revised the date of polling in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency from May 7 to May 25 after it received representations to reschedule the date of polling due to various issues about “logistics, communication and natural barriers of connectivity.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has, however, not announced any candidate from any of the three seats in Kashmir, including Anantnag-Rajouri. In 2019, NC’s Hasnain Masoodi defeated Mufti from the seat by a close margin of over 6000 votes.

In the first general elections in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, the voting has already concluded on the seats of Jammu, Baramulla, Srinagar and Udhampur. Source

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