We voted ”because of the hate of our own leaders” (Part II)November 24th, 2008 - 4:20 pm ICT by ANI
Apart from these reports, I have personally spoken to many journalists who were monitoring these elections. They confirmed that people have clearly rejected calls of boycott as ordinary masses have no trust in those who give calls of boycott.
One person I spoke to said: It is true we want independence and don”t want to be part of India, but by staying away from polling booths we will only strengthen hands of those who are promoting a Pakistani agenda in Jammu and Kashmir, and are getting
rewards for this.
The amazing turnout (in first and second phase of elections) has bewildered everyone. After ‘’successful communalisation” of the Kashmiri polity, anti-election leaders and their mentors thought they have won the battle, and they were predicting a total boycott and a possible ”blood bath” which could have helped them make political gains.
Even Indian government officials were worried that the turnout could be low compared to the elections of 2002; and that ”terrorists would stage bloody incidents”, which could have embarrassed India.
But the voting in six constituencies of Ganderbal, Kangan, Darhal, Kalakote, Rajouri and Nowshera have hugely surpassed the figures of 2002 Assembly elections; and those elections were, by and large, accepted and hailed by all those who believe in democratic values.
One has to understand that there was pressure on the voters from both camps one urging them to stay away from polling stations, and the other encouraging them to exercise their democratic right in favour of their candidates.
Making the conditions worse for those wishing to vote, weather was extremely cold; and despite that the turn out was better than 2002 elections.
Masuad Samoon, Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir gave details of the voting in a press conference held on Nov. 23, which confirmed that turn out was much better than 2002 elections. For example in Rajouri constituency, the polling was 27.05 percentage in 2002, and it shot up to 67% in the polling held today. Similarly the turnout in Kalakote has surprised everyone which increased from 48.66 per cent in 2002 to 73 per cent today.
Mufti Sayeed, former Chief Minister was also astonished by the turn out; and called it a ”trendsetter for the rest of the phases”. He was among those who wanted the elections to be postponed because in his opinion the situation was “unfavourable” for the elections, as he also feared low turn out and bloody incidents.
“Gun is no solution and we have had a bitter experience of it. America has used it in Iraq and Afghanistan and the outcome is before everyone. We want to resolve problems through democratic process, as there is no other way to resolve the Kashmir issue,” said Sayeed while adding that in order to resolve the Kashmir dispute, “We all, including India and Pakistan, have to move from stated positions.”
What has angered many people is the hypocritical approach of anti-elections lobby they support elections in areas occupied by Pakistan; but are prepared to go to any lengths to oppose elections in areas occupied by India. They all know that elections are not substitute for referendum and there is the UN Security Council resolution on this matter as well.
Tags: 2002 elections, assembly elections, blood bath, boycott, constituencies, constituency, democratic right, democratic values, divisional commissioner, favour, indian government officials, jammu and kashmir, journalists, kangan, kashmir, mentors, polity, polling booths, polling stations, second phase