98-year-old woman in Kashmir votes for change

November 30th, 2008 - 2:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Handwara, Nov 30 (IANS) A 98-year-old woman, confident that her vote will help usher in change, stood in queue at a polling station in Handwara constituency in the third phase of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir Sunday. “There are many problems like unemployment, bad roads and poor electricity. I am voting for someone who will change things. I am confident my vote will make a difference,” said Fazi, who waited patiently for her turn to vote at the Machipora polling station although she could barely stand.

Her daughter-in-law Mehbooba said the family had difficulty in persuading the elderly woman not to come out in the winter chill.

“She insisted she must vote. We wanted her to wait till the weather warmed up, but she wouldn’t listen,” Mehbooba said.

Handwara is among the five constituencies in Kupwara district where polling stations opened at 8 a.m. Sunday TO decide the fate of 71 candidates, including 31 independents and five women.

At the Machipora polling booth, a kilometer away from Handwara town, about about 200 voters, mostly women, had lined up to exercise their franchise.

Muhammad Akbar, the presiding officer, said the polling station has 678 registered voters and 198 votes were cast till 10 a.m.

About 200 people had also lined up at the nearby polling station of Batkot, which has 523 registered voters. However, men outnumbered women here.

“Women usually come out in the afternoon,” said 26-year-old voter Bashir Ahmad.

The main battle in Handwara is between the National Conference’s Chowdhary Mohammad Ramzan and Mohiuddin Sofi, an independent seeking re-election.

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