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8 BJP candidates elected unopposed in Pulwama polls

Municipal Committee Khrew became the first in Pulwama district and second in the state where elections could not be held as no candidate came forward to contest in any of its 13 wards.Unlike other Municipal Committees of Pulwama district—Tral, Awantipora, Pulwama and Pampore—not even a migrant Kashmiri Pandit filed nomination from the area.

Elections were also not held in 12 of the 17 designated wards at neighboring Municipal Committee Pampore.“Five candidates had filed nomination papers from here and all of them were elected unopposed. Four candidates are associated with the BJP and one candidate is independent,” an official said.

Similarly only two candidates filed nomination papers from thirteen designated wards of Municipal Committee Pulwama, one of whom withdrew later. The remaining one has been elected unopposed. He is the local BJP leader Gulzar Ahmad Nengroo.

Most of the candidates in  Municipal Committees in Pulwama district were migrant Kashmiri Pandits and are largely affiliated with the BJP. Out of 11 unopposed elected contestants, 8 are associated with the BJP and three are independents.

District Pulwama comprising Tral  and Awantipora, are considered most volatile areas in south Kashmir. During recent years Pulwama district has remained a hotbed of militancy.The district has witnessed increase in the number of youth joining militancy from these areas.

Some top militant commanders also hail from Pulwama district,  among them chief of Al Qaeda affiliated Ansar Gazwatul Hind Zakir Musa, Hizbul Mujahideen operational commander Riyaz Naikoo and Tehreek Ul Mujahideen divisional commander Showkat Bin Yousuf.

The roads and streets in Pulwama, Khrew and Pampore remained deserted throughout the day in response to shutdown call by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL). The JRL has called for a boycott of the civic polls while the militants have warned those contesting the polls of “dire consequences”.

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