Centenarians And First-timers Vote In J&K

23 April 2009
The Indian Express

Jammu: Though the political parties are out to woo the first-time voters during the current campaign, elderly in Jammu and Kashmir turned out in large number on Thursday to exercise their franchise. Five centenarians, six nonagenarians and many in their 70s and 80s lined up at polling stations in Udhampur-Doda parliamentary constituency, where polling is being held in the second phase of Lok Sabha elections. Sattar Mohammad, 106, with a glint in his eyes, travelled one-km on foot from his residence to cast his vote at Koshar village in Chenani assembly segment, official reports said in Jammu. Giano Devi (105) in Bani assembly segment, Sukh Devi (101) at Mahore in Gulabgarh assembly segment were among the first who cast their votes on Thursday. Ghulam Mohammad, defying his hundred odd years and a physical handicap, cast 25th vote of his lifetime in Basholi assembly segment. Another centurion, Jai Dai (100), too, was among the early birds who had travelled long distances to take part in the electoral exercise. Similarly, 97-year-old Chandu Ram, 95-year-old Ghulam Din, 90-year-old village headman Ghulam Hussain and 85-year-old Salu Ram were all present when the polling began at 7 am on Thursday. If the elderly were a picture of determination and resolve, first-timers were a exited lot, ready to fulfil the responsibility which accompanies adulthood. Mohammad Azim Bhanday in Ramnagar, Meenu Gupta at Kishtwar and Mohammad Iqbal in Banihal were all there to mark the 'historic' day of their lives.