Despondency and hope in Jammu and KashmirNovember 22nd, 2008 - 5:15 pm ICT by IANS
Rajouri, Nov 22 (IANS) As Jammu and Kashmir braces for the second round of balloting Sunday, there is despondency and hope among voters, Hindus and Muslims alike.Rajouri district, which runs parallel to the Line of Control (LoC) on one side and the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas on the other, accounts for four assembly seats in the state legislature.
Campaigning has been intense in this area as well as in Ganderbal and Kangan constituencies in the Kashmir Valley that will also see voting Sunday.
Political parties have made a litany of promises. They have run down one another. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is even claiming that it is poised to take power in Jammu and Kashmir.
National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, both former chief ministers, have traded charges publicly. The Congress is not far behind.
But in the Hindu-dominated areas of the mostly Muslim district, few voters are impressed.
“Where is all the development they speak of,” Shakoor Ahmad, a middle-aged shopkeeper in Darhal, asks in disgust.
Added Narinder Nath, a graduate student: “Unemployment is rampant, there are no jobs in this district, those in the plains take away everything. So who are they fooling?”
There are more angry voices.
“All of them came here seeking votes, we haven’t seen them visiting us in times of crisis,” moans Abdul Rashid, a resident of Kalakote.
But despite all this, it seems people will vote Sunday.
“We will definitely vote and make them accountable. There are many young and new candidates who hold some promise,” says Narinder Nath.