After 25 Yrs, Pandit Youth Vote In Their Home Constituencies

14 December 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Sumit Hakhoo

Jammu: While thousands of displaced Kashmiri Hindus cast their vote in special polling stations established in Jammu during the Assembly elections, it was for the first time in 25 years of exodus that several youth recruited under Prime Minister's employment package exercised their franchise in their home constituencies in the Valley. Though the number was just a few hundred, but they had returned in 2010-11 and living in camp colonies established by the government. 'It is a proud moment for me to vote in my home constituency. I have contributed my bit to strengthen the democratic process in J&K. Till I was recruited under the Prime Minister's package, I used to vote in Jammu,' said Vikas Razdan, who cast his vote at Nai Basti, Anantnag district. At the moment under the employment package, nearly 2000 displaced youth are working in the Valley and most of them are living in camps and not in their original homes and villages as government fears attacks from the militants. 'There is a fear of militants, but keeping in view the huge turnout in the elections we too came out to vote. In democracy every vote counts so we do not want to miss the opportunity to elect the representative,' said Amit Raina, who lives in Habbakadal and was recruited under the employment package. Meanwhile, about 56 per cent Pandits voted in Phase-IV of the elections for Shopian, Anantnag and Srinagar districts which went to the polls today at special polling stations established in Jammu, Udhampur and New Delhi. Of the 20,955 community members who had their M-forms filled, about 11,870 exercised their franchise. Community members came out in large number at Jagti, Muthi, Mishriwala, Nagrota and Purkhoo to vote. Assistant Returning Officer (ARO-M) Sachin Dev Singh said that polling went peacefully in Jammu and there was elaborate arrangement for the people. 'Only those displaced Hindus who had filled their M-Forms were allowed to cast their votes and it was conducted in smooth manner,' Singh said. The BJP has gambled on minority votes and had given mandate to four Pandit candidates from Habbakadal, Khanyar, Rafiabad and Bijbehara.