Poll Sidelights: Tral Boycotts Ballot Box

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Election staff wait for voters inside a polling booth | KO Photo: Abid Bhat

Tral: Residents of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday stayed away from ballot box owing to the lack of development in the area from the last seven decades.

The residents from Rathsuna, Shairafabad, Nowdal, Midoora, Pinglish said that casting votes in the past has brought them no relief, “thus they have decided to boycott the polls this time.”

“We used to vote for our basic amenities but our demands were never met, so we decided to stay away from polls,” residents of Nuristan Tral said.

A local resident Muzamil Ahmad said that in the last two decades, several political parties promised to provide better road connectivity, electricity but it all proved a hoax on the ground.

“These political parties just want a vote from us, and after we vote in their favour, they don’t keep their promise,” he said.

Pertinently, in eight booths of Tral, not a single vote was casted.

However, an official said that 15.2 per cent votes were cast in Tral block.

Of 3977 votes, 2236 votes were cast by men while 1741 votes were cast by women, an official said.

Karmulla village recorded the highest number of votes with 59.80 per cent. Around eight booths witnessed zero per cent voting

‘Voting To Keep BJP Away’

Unlike the voters at other places, the electors at one of the polling booths in Amira Kadal constituency here had turned up at the booth to “ensure that their votes will keep the BJP candidate away.”

A group of voters at the polling booth established at Government Girls Higher Secondary School Amira Kadal said that they have no expectations from any of the candidates contesting the polls today.

“We are just casting our vote today to keep BJP away, who always took steps against the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” a woman, donning green traditional Pheran and wearing white mask, said.

She said it is not the first time she is casting the ballots, but this time “I am not expecting anything from any of the candidates as we have seen false and fake promises by the leaders so far. I am here to ensure the BJP candidate will not win.”

The other voters, accompanying her, echoed similar views, saying that “we believe it is not good either to cast the vote due to the situation and killings we have witnessed so far, but this time, it was necessary to come out and cast vote to ensure that the party who is taking anti-people decision will be shown doors.”

“We don’t want anyone to do fake promises this time. We are not casting ballots to ensure anyone’s win. But, this vote is only against the anti-people decisions like abrogation of Article 370 taken by the BJP led government. We don’t want to realize our mistake in the future for not casting ballots. We have got a chance to protest the anti-people decision of BJP and by casting the vote today against their candidate, we have done our job and fulfilled our responsibility,” Shaista (name changed), donning grey traditional Pheran said outside the polling booth.

The other voters, also present there said that every leader and candidate they have chosen so far has deceived them by failing to fulfill their promises. “This election is meant for the development, which has never taken place in Jammu and Kashmir. What is the fun of supporting the candidates now? But as a responsible society member, you have to do your bit to protest and tell those at the helm that the decision you have taken on August 05, 2019 didn’t suit the aspirations of people here,” a male voter said.

Pertinently, the second phase of ongoing eight-phased elections concluded on Tuesday across Jammu and Kashmir. The counting will be held on December 22.

Pak Bride Contesting DDC Polls From Kupwara

In Drugmulla constituency of Kupwara district a Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) resident is among nearly a dozen contestants contesting the ongoing District Development Council (DDC), elections.

Somaya Latif, a resident of Muzaffarabad, in PaK, moved to this side of the LoC after the government of the erstwhile state led by Omar Abdullah initiated a rehabilitation policy for all the people who crossed over the border back in the 90s. She had married a Kashmiri youth in Muzaffarabad, who instead of picking arms, choose to live a normal life.

Somaya is contesting the ongoing District Development Council (DDC) election from the Drugmulla constituency that will witness a nail hitting contest between 11 candidates.

Somaya said that she belongs to Muzaffarabad and is contesting the DDC election after the people encouraged her and they’ve moved from Pakistan to this side with a peaceful message for the masses.

She said the decision to contest isn’t self-centric rather several people approached and encouraged her to contest the election. “I’ve been working in a scheme under the government titled ‘SRLM’ during which the fieldwork has evoked a huge response and I am well aware of the sufferings of the common masses,” she said.

Hoping that the people will vote in her favor, she said that she is pretty sure that she will secure the election and she has already won because the members of “our SRLM group are doing great job and this family has ensured the support of the general masses for her.

“Women who along with their husbands and children under the rehabilitation scheme 2010 have come here with peaceful massage and all of us are in regular contact and the figure is nearly 350 across the valley. Only 75 are residing in Kupwara who are maintaining a close contact with each other,” she said.

Somaya said that there have been no discussion about the decision to contest the DDC election with Pakistani brides living across the valley or Kupwara district adding that if they get to know “I’m sure they’ll be happy with the decision and hope that there is someone who can at least represent and talk for us.”

“My contribution would be to work for the Pakistani brides who have come from across the border and living here and also for the local people,” she said, adding “I’m very sure about the support from the general masses and a women would never intend to disrupt the peace of a family and similarly to that the peace across the nation won’t be disrupted.”

Notably, the Drugmulla constituency comprising several areas, is going for polls on December 07 with 11candidates in the fray.

Meanwhile, District Election Officer (DEO), said that only a single candidate Somaya Latif from across the border is in the poll fray across the district.

Pertinently, in the panchayat elections held last year, at least two Pakistani brides took part in the election that included one from Langate and the another from Khumriyal

PDP Leader ‘Detained’ Briefly By Police

A People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader on Tuesday was allegedly detained by police when the municipal elections were in progress in this capital city.

PDP leader Rouf Bhat was allegedly detained by police at the Shergari police station for over an hour before being let off, news agency KDC reported. However, the reasons behind detaining the PDP leader could not be known.

Meanwhile, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti reacted sharply to the alleged detention of her party leader.

“PDPs @RoufBhat has been detained again on the day the municipal election is being held in Srinagar. GOI by subverting democracy reminds me of the cycle of rigged elections in the past, which is one of the reasons J&K is in turmoil. How long will @ECISVEEP ignore such malpractices?.” Mehbooba posted on her Twitter page

“In 2002 BJP’s Vajpayee ji promised & ensured free & fair elections in J&K. And in 2020 the very same BJP is going all out to ensure every election here from municipal to DDC is manipulated & rigged,’’ she said in her tweet.

 

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