LS Polls: Around 700 companies of SFs to be deployed in J&K, Ladakh

Jammu,  Nearly 700 companies of security forces are to be deployed in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for the smooth conduct of Lok Sabha polls scheduled for April–May this year in the country.

Official sources said that after West Bengal (920 companies), the highest number of companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

“As many as 635 companies of paramilitary troops shall be deployed in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and 57 will be deployed in the Union Territory of Ladakh for the successful and smooth conduct of the Lok Sabha elections,” they said.

Post-elections, sources said that one company will remain stationed in Jammu and Kashmir for the strong room and safe counting of votes, adding that “moreover, as per the need, demand for central forces during the elections was made by the Chief Electoral Officers of all the states and union territories.”

On this basis, the Election Commission has decided that 3400 companies will be deployed across the country, and they will be shifted in a phased manner, sources revealed.

“After the elections are over, companies will be retained to ensure the security of the strong rooms set up in Jammu and Kashmir and to complete the counting of votes,” they added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will sound the election bugle in Jammu and Kashmir with his February 20 rally in Jammu.

The sources said that Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir could boost the BJP’s prospects in the Union Territory ahead of the Lok Sabha election, as the party is eyeing three seats out of five this time.

The BJP, for two consecutive terms in 2014 and 2019, won two Lok Sabha seats from the Jammu region.

Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh won the Udhampur-Kathua seat, and Jugal Kishore Sharma won the Jammu-Poonch seat in the last two Lok Sabha polls.

After delimitation, a new seat in Anantnag-Rajouri has been created.

The final voter list has also been published in Jammu and Kashmir.

The party this time is eyeing third-seat Anantnag-Poonch-Rajouri, which has a large number of Pahari votes, to whom the government accorded ST status in the just concluded Parliament session.