"All the arrangements have been finalised for counting of votes for the six parliamentary constituencies in the state. Mock drills were conducted to acquaint the counting staff with the process," an official spokesman said.

He said the counting of votes will begin at 8 AM on Friday in the all six constituencies.

Union ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Farooq Abdullah, and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti are among the 78 aspirants from the state's six Lok Sabha seats that went to polls in five phases from April 10 to May 7.

This election is believed to be the most keenly contested Lok Sabha polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

The returning officers of all the constituencies have held meetings with the candidates or their representatives for ensuring that the counting process passes off smoothly, the spokesman said.

In Jammu Lok Sabha constituency, sitting MP Madan Lal Sharma will be hoping to stave off challenge from BJP candidate and MLA Jugal Kishore and 17 other candidates.

Union Health Minister Azad is locked in a multi-cornered contest, but the battle for Udhampur Lok Sabha seat is seen as one between him and BJP candidate Jatinder Singh.

The PDP president would like to maintain her winning record as she has never lost an election from south Kashmir – be it the Lok Sabha or Assembly polls.

She is pitted against incumbent MP Mehboob Beg of the ruling National Conference and 10 others.


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