LS polls: Jitendra Singh files nomination from J&K’s Udhampur-Kathua seat

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Jammu: Union minister Jitendra Singh on Thursday filed his nomination papers from the Udhampur-Kathua Lok Sabha constituency for the first phase of general elections in Jammu and Kashmir on April 19.

The notification for the Udhampur-Kathua constituency was issued on Wednesday along with 102 seats in 17 states and four Union Territories where polls will be held in the first phase.

Flanked by wife Manju Singh and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Singh filed his nomination papers at the office of Returning Officer Rakesh Minhas in Kathua town, officials said.

Singh, whose candidacy was announced in the BJP’s first list on March 3, performed a puja at his residence in the Trikuta Nagar area of the city in the presence of friends and relatives earlier in the day.

The two-time MP from Udhampur-Kathua is aiming for a hat-trick of wins and thanked the people for their faith in him while seeking their blessings for yet another term.

“The people from the hills of Kishtwar and Doda had come here yesterday to show their love and faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is proof of the work done in this region. But the opposition failed to see any development,” Singh told the rally in Kathua.

Seeking the support of the people, he said, “I bow before you for the love and faith in me and I again seek your blessings”.

Before filing the nomination papers, Singh took out a rally that saw the participation of Dalip Singh Rana, better known as ‘The Great Khali’ for his exploits in the World Wrestling Entertainment, and BJP J&K chief Ravinder Raina.

Khali, who is also a BJP leader, sought votes for Singh and said the region has progressed under him.

The Udhampur-Kathua Lok Sabha constituency was once a stronghold of the Congress party.

In 2014, Singh defeated former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and veteran Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad by more than 60,000 votes from the Udhampur seat.

Singh received 4,87,369 votes to 4,26,393 votes garnered by Azad, who has since quit the Congress.

In 2019, he won against Congress candidate Vikram Aditya Singh, the son of Congress leader Karan Singh. He won by a substantial margin of 3,57,252 votes. After a recent summary revision, the Udhampur-Kathua constituency now has over 16.20 lakh registered voters. Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be conducted in five phases with voting in each of the five parliamentary constituencies to be held in a separate phase. Polling in the five Lok Sabha constituencies will be held on April 19 (Udhampur), April 26 (Jammu), May 7 (Anantnag), May 13 (Srinagar) and May 20 (Baramulla). The Ladakh Lok Sabha seat spread over Kargil and Leh districts will go to polls in the fifth phase of polls.

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