JAMMU, Dec 4: Enthusiasm of voters and contestants remained upbeat in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch as polling percentage in 7th phase of Panchayat elections remained above 80 in both the districts, while as the participation of a kidney patient on dialysis and his thumping win as Sarpanch perhaps made these elections ‘very special’ in Pir Panjal belt.
While many people, especially the young generation claimed that they voted for the better development of the area, some elderly members revealed that they have voted for a change. They claimed that their respective areas have remained neglected due to delay in Panchayat elections. They hoped that with the completion of Panchayat elections process, more funds will be released for their respective Panchayat Halqas and basic issues of the people will be resolved.
In Budhal, Rajnagar and Khawas blocks of Rajouri district, the elections were held in 61 Panchayat Halqas today. This is the most remote and neglected area of district Rajouri. The people are reeling under the water and power scarcity while road and telecommunication connectivity is also worst. The health facilities are also inadequate. The people have high hopes to get some facilities after these elections.
One Mazoor Ahmed from village Haiyan in Budhal block said he was earning his livelihood through labour work. He said for the last few years, he was not getting job under NREGA Scheme. He hoped that after the new team is elected from his Panchayat Halqa, he will get job under NREGA. He further said that there is no road connectivity to his village. Even no tractor road was provided by the RDD during last many decades. He said road communication is the major issue in his area.
Makhan Din from village Peeri claimed that this time majority of the Panchayat members contesting from his area are qualified. He said it will make a difference. They will be able to prepare good projects for the area and hopefully ensure better development. He said better power and water supply, healthcare facilities, ration supply, road connectivity and regularity of Government employees are the core issues. He said with the new Panchayats in place, more funds will be provided to the State by the Central Government and better development would be ensured. He regretted the delay caused by the previous Government in conducting Panchayat and ULB elections in the State.
Abdul Qayoom from Morha-B in Budhal said due to delay in Panchayat elections the people of the State have suffered a lot. The better development could not be ensured during past several years. Both BJP and PDP are the culprits. He said after elections, it is hoped that pace of development would be enhanced in all the Panchayat Halqas and ULBs in the State.
Javed Ahmed from Mendhar said, ” We have voted for a change and better development of the area. There is worst condition of the roads and lanes besides schools. We hope that road, water and power supply positions will improve after Panchayat elections are over,” Javed added.
Young Payal, polling for the first time at Mendhar told the Excelsior that she was very happy to cast her vote today. Payal said that she has also told her friends to cast vote for the betterment of the area and development. She said even single vote has its importance and value. She claimed that she has voted for a change and development of the area. She pointed out that the condition of the roads, lanes and drains was worst in Mendhar and there is need to create good environment around.
Vinod Raina and Aisha Negi from Mendhar said that it is democratic right of every person to caste vote. They said every person should caste vote for the development of the area. It is very important to participate in the democratic process. They listed the issues of their area and hoped that new team would resolve basic issues of the people.
The win of Fazal Hussain from Azmatabad in Rajouri as Sarpanch though being a kidney patient for the last about one year and undergoing dialysis in Jammu, has set an example for the other candidates. Fazal was Sarpanch and Chairman as well during previous Panchayat elections. He is very popular mass based leader in the area. Due to his good work and conduct, the public made him to contest again and requested to render his services till he is alive.
The people launched campaign for him and made him winner with huge margin. He has emerged winner only with the support and campaign of the locals who love and respect him the most. Elderly Fazal, has set an example for the others not only in the Pir Panjal belt but in the entire state and accepted the request of his supporters and decided to fight elections.