We can’t wait for Kashmir dispute resolution: voterNovember 17th, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by IANS
Saderkote Payeen (Jammu and Kashmir), Nov 17 (IANS) The world looks at Kashmir as a source of dispute between India and Pakistan, a global hotspot, but people who came to this polling station in Bandipora constituency Monday to vote for a new state assembly were more worried about local issues.It was still early and freezing cold as Haji Muhammad Yusuf, 60, finished casting his vote and was leaving the polling station that has been set up in the has already cast his vote and is leaving the polling station that has been set up in the rural development department office here.
“Our priority is local issues like unemployment, roads and development,” Yusuf told IANS. “My participation in the voting process has nothing to do with the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
“Till that (resolution) happens, my children cannot idle around and waste their youth. Something has to be done to secure their future and unless we have the right person to represent us, such burning issues cannot be allowed to wait.”
Like Yusuf, Nighat Ara, 23, had defied the poll boycott called by separatists. She had similar priorities.
“I am voting for a job. If the representative of my choice wins elections, I am sure he will do something to get me a government job somewhere.
“My parents are constantly worried about my unemployment and I must also do something to help my family. That is the reason I am here to cast my vote today.”
In Jammu and Kashmir summer capital Srinagar, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer B.R. Sharma said: “The first two hours of polling has been totally peaceful.”
Manzoor Ahmad, presiding officer at polling station number 110 - one of the two here - told IANS: “People are coming in peacefully to cast their votes. We have faced no problem so far and the poll process is going on smoothly.”
There are 778 registered voters at this polling station. By 11 a.m., three hours after polling opened, 211 voters including 156 men and 55 women had cast their votes.
As the day warmed up, more were expected.
In the adjacent polling station number 111, there are 642 registered voters of whom 169 voters including 97 men and 72 women had cast their votes by 11 a.m.
According to poll officials during the first two hours of voting, in the Bandipora and Sonawari constituencies had recorded seven percent polling each, Gurez 10 percent, Nobra nine percent, Leh six percent, Kargil 17 percent, Zanskar 13 percent, Mendhar 13 percent, Poonch eight percent and Surankote 12 percent.