EC issues notification for Anantnag Lok Sabha seat
Constituency to witness triangular fight; BJP yet to announce candidate
TNN Bureau. Updated: 4/13/2024 3:11:05 AM

Jammu: Election Commission today issued notification for Anantnag Parliamentary constituency in Jammu and Kashmir which will go to polls on April 24.
According to the notification, the last date for filing of nominations for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat is April 5 while the scrutiny of nomination papers will be conducted on April 7. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 9. The Anantnag Lok Sabha seat -- spread over four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian -- has 12.72 lakh voters, including 6,01,688 female voters, who are eligible to cast their votes at 1,615 polling stations to be set up in the constituency.
The high-profile seat is anticipated to witness a triangular contest between Mian Altaf of the National Conference, Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party, and Zaffar Manhas of the Apni Party. However, the Democratic Party of Azad Kashmir (DPAP) has also named Gh Nabi Azad as their candidate, although Azad himself is yet to confirm his candidacy.
Mian Altaf holds significant influence among the Gujjar community, while Zaffar Manhas is expected to garner support from the Pahari community.
Political analysts suggest that the non-residency status of both Mian and Manhas could provide a slight advantage to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Nonetheless, the National Conference (NC) boasts several former MLAs and MLCs from the same seat, whose campaigning efforts will play a pivotal role in determining Mian's prospects.
Leaders such as Dr Bashir Ahmad Veeri, Altaf Kaloo, Ab Majeed Larmi, Peer Mohammad Hussain, Syed Tawqeer, Imran Nabi Dar, Sakeena Yatoo, Showkat Ahmad Ganaie, and others, who have long been associated with the NC, are expected to mobilise support in their respective constituencies.
The Congress holds sway in certain segments of the constituency, such as Dooru, and its support and campaign for the NC could prove beneficial. The upcoming elections will be a litmus test for the Apni Party's leaders as they endeavour to garner support in their respective constituencies, having switched allegiances from different political parties.
A lot will depend on Rafi Ahmed Mir, Ab Raheem Rather, Ab Majeed Padder and Choudhary Zulafkar as they are the big faces of the party in this segment who all have joined the Apni Party after quitting PDP.
For PDP, there are just a few assembly segments like Bijbehara and Zainapora where they can get lead and a lot will depend on their campaign now.
Notably, the scenario may shift if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominates a strong candidate, particularly considering the significant Pahari vote bloc in the region, which has shown enthusiasm following the government's announcement of reservations for the community.
The Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat comprises a total of 1,925,450 votes, with approximately 11 lakh votes from South Kashmir and over 8 lakh votes from Rajouri and Poonch districts.

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