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Kashmir election ball set rolling

Srinagar, Aug. 22: The election process in Jammu and Kashmir got under way today, with the Governor issuing the notification for the first phase of polling.

Elections in the state will be held in four phases. Six districts will go to polls in the first round.

The ruling National Conference released its list of 25 candidates for the first phase. The 26-member list has 10 new faces.

According to a statement issued here, the names were cleared by the central board, including chief minister Farooq Abdullah, housing minister Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Shah and party general secretary Shiekh Nazir Ahmad.

Sharief-ud-Din Shariq, an MP, will be the candidate from Langate in Baramullah while Javed Hussain Shah, member of the legislative council, will contest from Bandipore. Shah was a pro-India militant who later joined the National Conference.

Twenty-six Assembly segments in Kupwara, Baramullah, Leh, Kargil, Rajouri and Poonch will go to polls on September 16 in the first round.

According to the notification, the last date for filing nomination papers is August 29.

The scrutiny of the papers will be done on August 31 and the last date for withdrawal of candidatures is September 2.

The existing Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, unless dissolved, shall continue till October 17 and shall thereafter stand dissolved, the notification adds.

Clashes between supporters of Kuka Parray, a renegade-turned-politician who won the Sonawari seat in 1996, and the National Conference today marred poll meetings in Baramullah.

The rival groups pelted stones at each other and beat each other up, resulting in injuries to several people.

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