Voters In Rural Areas Of Anantnag Upbeat About Elections

23 April 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)

Anantnag: With the Anantnag parliamentary segment scheduled to go to polls tomorrow, people in towns remain apprehensive even as a decent voter turnout is expected in the rural pockets of this south Kashmir constituency. Recent killings of panchayat representatives and poll boycott call given by various separatist organisations would have an impact on the polls in major towns like Anantnag, Bijbehara, Pulwama and Shopian, but people in rural areas are upbeat about the democratic process. 'Holidays for us are hard to come by and I find it perfect to spend the day with my family,' said Saeed Ahmad, a shopkeeper from Anantnag town. The scene is no different in Bijbehara, the Assembly constituency and native place of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. But a significant number of Mufti's supporters are expected to exercise their right to franchise in this area. People in rural areas of the Bijbehara Assembly segment, however, are expected to vote in good numbers. Voters here have shown great interest in election campaign and were upbeat about political rallies. Electorate in the Assembly segments of Dooru, Kokernag and Shangus are also expected to come out in decent numbers to be a part of the democratic process. In Kulgam district, barring a few villages, people area expected to vote in rather good numbers. Voters in his part of the constituency have clear political motivations and the area has historically remained politically very active. The situation in twin districts of Shopian and Pulwama might be a stark contrast to that of Kulgam. Three persons, including a panchayat member and his son, were killed by militants in the area recently. Besides, the posters put out by various militant outfits calling for poll boycott would likely affect the voter turnout. 'I want to vote in this election so that the best representative can be elected to Parliament, but the recent killings have left me in dilemma,' said Ghulam Hassan (name changed) from Pulwama town. 'Not only he but many more persons have now decided not to votejaan hai toh jahan hai (world is till you are alive),' he said. People in Shopian have not seen much of violence of late, but people here remain apprehensive about elections. The district remains one of the most volatile areas in the constituency and people don't want to create any chaos by being a part of the poll process. However, some enthusiastic voters are upbeat tomorrow's elections. 'Fear spread among the people will definitely stop some desirous voters from exercising their right to franchise, but I am not going to be among them. I will cast my vote at any cost,' said Parvez Ahmad (name changed) from Tral. There is also a section of people who do not want to vote because they feel that the representatives elected by them during previous parliamentary elections did nothing for their betterment and were 'insensitive'. Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed today against the arrest of many youths in south Kashmir's Tral and Shopian town.