In Anantnag, boycott prevails over ballot | KNO

People prefer to stay away from polling; sporadic clashes in few places, no serpentine queues anywhere
In Anantnag, boycott prevails over ballot | KNO

Kashmir News Observer (KNO)

Anantnag, April 23 (KNO) : The first phase of elections in the restive South Kashmir Lok Sabha constituency that started from Anantnag district on Tuesday witnessed a very low voting as people preferred to stay away from the election process, adding worries to the contesting candidates in fray. Even though sporadic clashes were witnessed in a few places in the district, but the district gave a big miss to serpentine queues as wherever voters came to exercise their right to vote were very less in number. According to the KNO team that travelled extensively to the district, even the remote areas known as voting hubs didn’t witness good percentage of votes like Kamad in Verinag, Shangus, Kapran, Devsar and Qazigund, raising serious concerns for the parties and their candidates contesting the polls. The low figures pushed National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah to issue a Twitter appeal. “To the voters of Anantnag, please don't reward the death, destruction & deceit of the last four years by staying home and boycotting the election. Come out & vote to give your anger a voice. Vote for the best candidate in the field, vote for @masoodi_hasnain,” he tweeted. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti is contesting from Anantnag against Hasnain Masoodi while Congress candidate G A Mir is also in the fray. The retired judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court is known for his landmark judgment on Article 370 of October 2015, in which he said the Article, which gives Jammu and Kashmir its special status along with Article 35A, "though titled as 'Temporary Provision'" has "assumed place of permanence in the Constitution". Anantnag became the first constituency in India's electoral history to have elections in three phases - today is the first phase. The Election Commission said the schedule was made keeping in mind the security situation in the constituency, which is spread across four districts of terror-hit south Kashmir. More than 300 companies (30,000 personnel) of security forces have been deployed for today’s polling, which was held peacefully despite some stray incidents of stone pelting. “No fun voting, this district has seen enough bloodshed especially the youngsters. Can’t sell the blood of young martyrs,” said Abdul Jabbar Khan, a resident of Dooru. At Ashmuqam, even though some people had come to vote, but no long queues were witnessed there. “I have a commitment with the candidate and that’s why I am voting,” said an elderly Nazir Ahmed Darzi. At Bijbehara, the stronghold of PDP, very less percentage of votes was registered. Khanabal, once a bastion of PDP, registered 80 votes out of 1100 votes. However, in Dooru, Shababad-Dooru, Kamad and Bomdooru, people in good numbers came out to cast votes. While as elderly people kept their date with the ballot, youth preferred to stay away everywhere saying, “can’t sell blood of martyrs, and elections were meaningless for them.” (KNO)