Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla Lok Sabha seat as separatists and militants have called for a boycott of the elections on Thursday, April 11.
The Baramulla seat -- spread over 15 assembly segments in three districts of north Kashmir -- will go to polls on Thursday along with 90 other constituencies across the country in the first phase of polling.
Officials said authorities have established 1,749 polling stations at 1,387 locations for over 13.12 lakh voters to exercise their franchise.
"Adequate security arrangements have been put in place to ensure that people come out to exercise their franchise without any fear," election officials said on Wednesday, April 10.
The separatists and militants have called for a boycott of the elections.
Some of the areas in the constituency, particularly falling in Kupwara and Bandipora districts, are still snowbound, but poll staff and material has already been dispatched to respective polling stations, the officials said.
Those in the fray include Muhammad Akbar Lone of the National Conference, Farooq Ahmad Mir of the Congress, Raja Aijaz Ali of the People's Conference, Mohammad Maqbool War of the BJP, Jahangir Khan of NPP, Abdul Qayoom Wani of PDP and independent candidates Javid Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Najeeb Shah Naqvi and Abdul Rashid Sheikh.
None of the nine candidates have earlier been elected either to the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
PPD stalwart Muzaffar Hussain Baig had won the 2014 Lok Sabha election from the Baramulla seat, but he chose not to seek re-election this time. Baig had defeated Sharief-ud-Din Shariq of the National Conference by a margin of 29,219 votes.
While the 2014 elections in this north Kashmir constituency was a virtual head-on contest between the PDP and the NC, a multi-cornered contest is expected this time around with the emergence of People's Conference as the third regional force in Kashmir.
Former Langate MLA Abdul Rashid Sheikh's decision to contest the Lok Sabha polls has spiced up the contest as former IAS officer Shah Faesal has extended him support of his newly formed Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement.