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Independents galore in JK final phase polling

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December 19, 2008 11:08 IST

The final phase of elections in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] on December 24 will have the distinction of having the highest number of Independents in state's electoral history.

Of the total 370 candidates in the fray in 21 constituencies, 140 are Independents, election department officials said.

Among the three districts of Jammu, Srinagar [Images] and Samba going to polls, Jammu's 11 segments account for 72 Independents followed by Srinagar with 58 Independents and 10 in Samba district.

"This is for the first time that such a large number of Independents are trying their luck in electoral battle field," an election official said.

The highest number of Independents are in Jammu's Akhnoor and Bishnah segments, where 14 each are in the fray out of 21 and 27 candidates respectively.

 In Jammu's Nagrota constituency, nine out of 25 candidates are Independents while seven are Independents out of 17 candidates in Gandhinagar, six out of 20 in Jammu East, eight out of 17 in Jammu West, two out of 14 in R S Pura, six out of 19 in Suchetgarh, three out of 15 in Marh, one out of 11 in Domana, and two out of seven in Chhamb segment.

In Samba district, three are Independents out of 12 candidates in Samba constituency, followed by seven out of 19 candidates in Vijaypur segment.

In Srinagar district, Hazratbal accounts for seven Independents out of 18, followed by seven out of 16 in Zadibal, seven out of 14 in Eidgah, three out of 10 in Khanyar, nine out of 21 in Habbakadal, ten out of 23 in Amirakadal, ten out of 26 in  Sonawar and five out of 18 in Batmaloo segment.

 Among the Independents, there are dozens of rebels contesting against candidates of BJP, NC, BSP and Congress.

In the earlier phases, there were 35 Independents in the first phase of elections, 29 in second phase, 34 in third, 82 in fourth, 58 in fifth and 99 in the sixth phase, officials said.

Former chief minister and NC patron Farooq Abdullah, and former deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma (Cong) are among the prominent leaders contesting polls in this phase.

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