Despite heavy downpour, lot of enthusiasm among voters in border, Kandi belt

Voters waiting in a queue at Model Polling Station at border village Kadyala on Friday.
Voters waiting in a queue at Model Polling Station at border village Kadyala on Friday.

‘We voted for peace, development’

Avtar Bhat
KATHUA, Apr 19: Despite inclement weather and heavy downpour, lot of enthusiasm was seen among the people in border belt of Hiranagar and Kandi belt of Kathua and Udhampur districts on the polling day of Lok Sabha elections of Kathua-Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary constituency which went to polls on the first phase of elections along with 102 segments in the country today.
Though the voting started at scheduled 7 am in the morning, the voters reached their respective Polling Stations 15 minutes earlier and gathered in the queues to cast their vote. Lot of enthusiasm was especially seen among the first time voters who were jubilant to cast their vote to strengthen the democracy of the country.

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However, the women outnumbered men at various Polling Stations in casting their vote and some came by foot covering over one kilometer to exercise their right to franchise. They included elderly, middle aged, young as well as first time voters who don’t want to miss the opportunity of participating in the greatest festival of democracy.
Almost all the Polling Stations in Kathua and Udhampur districts, where this Correspondent visited saw that number of women voters was higher than their male counterparts. In border belt of Hiranagar especially on those polling booths which were lying near Zero Line, people said they voted for prevalence of peace on borders and development in the border belt. The people in Kandi belt of Kathua and Udhampur said besides development, they voted for strengthening unity and integrity of the nation, making India a strong country whose prestige will increase in comity of nations.
The people in border area of Hiranagar said in past they were always facing the threat of cross border firing on the polling day. “But now they are tension free as the enemy nation has been set right by the present Government and people in border belt were relieved of this tension of cross border firing and infiltration,” the said.
At Babiya Polling Station near Zero Line in Hiranagar Sector where about 70 percent polling was recorded peacefully during the day, the voters were seen in a jubilant mood. The voters were all praise for arrangements made by the administration at polling booth. Balak Ram, an octogenarian voter of the village after casting his vote at Babiya Polling Booth said “We are relieved of tension now as there is a strong Government at Delhi. Now Pakistani Rangers who were earlier resorting to firing know that they will be given a befitting reply and hence they don’t dare to put their finger even on trigger. This is a big change which the border people witnessed during last one decade”, Similar were views of another voter Yog Raj who said development also took place in border belt as there is a good network of roads and for the first time the public bunkers were also constructed by the Government.
Tej Ram, a farmer who cast his vote at Manyari Polling Station on Zero Line also in Hiranagar sector said. “The farmers now cultivate their land near Zero Line free after three decades of tension as Government showed guts how to deal with enemy. Border people who were neglected earlier are now getting due attention from administration. So we voted for strengthening the democratic system of the country and making India a great nation”.
Rohni, a 19 year old girl who was injured in an accident and was admitted in hospital at Kathua today got discharge from the Hospital to cast her vote at Polling Station BDO Block Kathua. She said she pressed her parents to get her discharged from the hospital this morning as she does not want to miss the opportunity of casting the vote for first time in her life.
Like her, many young voters in Kathua district said that they wanted to support that party which can take country forward, lead in education sector and create better avenues for earning and employment opportunities.
However, some voters alleged that there were no arrangements for old and infirm people to reach to Polling Stations and this way many people could not reach to Polling Stations to cast their vote. This allegation was leveled by the people at Polling Station Number 102 Chani in Majalta tehsil of Udhampur district. At this particular Polling Station out of 540 voters, 345 had polled their votes by 2pm. They included 180 female and 165 male.
Hans Raj, a 86 year old person who cast the vote at this polling booth, said that he had first time cast his vote in 1962 elections and since then he cast the vote in every election. He said for the first time in his life, he saw that there is a Government which is really working for the development of rural and backward areas neglected for 70 years.
Mohammed Mushtaq, 28, another voter at this polling booth said that they (his family of seven members) had no house to live and for the first time any Government constructed house for them without any consideration of caste, creed or religion. Earlier two or three houses were constructed under Government policy now their number has surpassed scores and many families of my community in the area also got Pucca houses to live, he added.
Raghubir Singh, 19, a first time voter at Polling Station 101 at Chani Mansar said he cast his vote to determine future of his nation, make it strong economically and militarily. At this Polling Station out of 776 votes 495 were polled by 2-15 pm. They included 230 male and 265 female. A 92 year lady Guru Devi also came by foot to cast her vote at this Polling Booth.
At Polling Station Number 114 in the adjoining locality, out of 365 voters, 197 were polled by 2-30 pm. They included 104 male and 93 female.
At Panchayat Ghar Amara in Majalta area of Udhampur out of 970 total votes 632 were polled by 3 pm. They included 289 male and 338 female. Nazir Hussian, a 22 year old youth who cast the vote for first time at this Polling Booth said that he voted for prosperty and progress of the country.
At Polling Station Amuwala in Zoone Bhaddu of Billawar, out of 1050 voters 749 were polled by 4.10 pm. They included 346 men and 403 women. While in Polling Station 88 Ramkot, out of 754 total voters, 476 were polled by 4.30 pm. They included 240 male and 236 female. Here also voters said that no facility was provided for old and infirm people by the administration to cast their vote.