In Ganderbal, people vote for development

November 23rd, 2008 - 1:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Duderhama (Jammu and Kashmir), Nov 23 (IANS) A feeble winter sun shone as people Sunday ignored a boycott call to line up at this polling station in Kashmir Valley’s prestigious Ganderbal constituency Sunday morning, stressing they were voting for development. “I have cast my vote. It is a right I want to exercise. I know my voting has nothing to do with the resolution of the Kashmir problem. I am voting for better electricity, better roads, a government job for myself and good governance”, said Muhammad Hanief, 28.

There are 1,147 voters at this polling station, and Muhammad Yusuf, the presiding officer here, says 80 voters, including 50 men and 30 women, had cast their votes during the first hour of polling which started at 8 a.m. today.

One of the main towns in the constituency, Duderhama was once a strong bastion of the regional National Conference (NC). NC’s president Omar Abdullah is fighting elections from here this year.

Around 40 men and five women had queued up around 9.30 a.m. to cast their votes at this polling station wearing woollens and traditional tweed over-garments locally called the ‘Pherens’.

The separatists have given a call for boycott of the elections and they wield a lot of influence here. There have been frequent protests and shutdowns during the last three months as part of the separatist resistance programme.

Despite that, the authorities believe the voters will turn up in good numbers as the day progresses.

“It is still early. We expect polling to pick up by mid day throughout the constituency”, said a senior state government official.

Irrespective of the turnout here, the fact is that the security forces are not prodding the people to vote.

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