Between crossfire of boycott, ballot: Lolab votes
Between Crossfire of Boycott, Ballot: Lolab Votes. Polling for the second phase ended here yesterday peacefully with aggregate voting record of 75% in the state of government of Jammu and Kashmir.
Polling for the second phase ended here yesterday peacefully with aggregate voting record of 75% in the state of government of Jammu and Kashmir. 18 assembly segments which went for polls yesterday constitute mainly the border areas of the state.
Lolab, 118 Kilometers away from the summer capital recorded 55% poll percentage, said a release of chief electoral officer J & K. Battling harsh cold, the voters from morning stood in long queues to cast their vote. Polling which started at 8 in morning saw the democratic participation of women and aged people.
At polling booth Number 54 the voters mainly women had their own reasons of voting. Mukhti Begum, 82 who came limping towards the polling booth said that she is voting for Bijli, Sadak and Pani. Similar reasons were also pointed by voters at booth number 71, 72. Gulam Nabi a voter said that they have been suppressed by the previous regimes of government and today he is coming to vote a right candidate.
Long queues were also seen in the upper belts of Lolab valley where people voted in bulk. Huge enthusiasm was seen among the first time voters at many polling booths. A voter Abdul Basit at polling booth number 54 sighted the issue unemployment a reason to vote. ‘‘I will vote so that I get government job, the person whom I voted has promised me a Sarkari Naukri if he came to power.’’ said Basit.
Apart from the Bijli, Sadak, Paani and Rozgar phenomenon voters from the far flung areas of Lolab voted for peace and tranquility. Voters from upper reaches said that they are voting so that a right candidate comes to who will make a place peaceful to live in.
Against the backdrop of elections, the boycott call given by the separatist faction of the valley was hugged by people at some places. At Shumriyal, Takiya Khurhama, Kalaroos and other adjoining areas of the South Lolab, 50% people registered complete election boycott. The boycotters sighting different reasons said that their vote is costly and why should they vote for a wrong candidate. Majority of the boycotters attributed their boycott to the ‘separatist call’.
Lolab which is the highest militarized zone in the valley shares its geographical boundary with Pakistan. After every village, the assembly segment is followed by an army camp. With frisking operations at regular interval at these military camps, the place shares its unique identity from rest of the state.
The militancy related incidents saw a slight decrease from last few years in the valley but the place still remains under the grip and tight vigil of security forces. As electricity for the residents of this place has remained a luxury, the development in other core areas is a distant affair.
With 55% total voter turnover this year, 45% voters still stand far from the system in Lolab area of Kupwara district.
By Shahid Andrabi