Enthusiastic voters queue up after decades of boycott

People line up to cast vote at Naira, Pulwama. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
People line up to cast vote at Naira, Pulwama. -Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Excelsior Correspondent
PULWAMA, May 13: In a significant departure from the past, Pulwama defied historical trends of poll boycotts, embracing full-fledged participation in the electoral process.
Long queues were seen outside Polling Stations in Tral, Pulwama and Pampore areas of the district where the poll percentage during the Parliamentary elections used to be in a single digit.

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A voter from Ratsuna area of Tral in Pulwama district highlighted their desire for representation and development. “This area has always been missing from the map of development, and we want to choose a person who can bring change,” he said.
The Tahab area of the district, traditionally known for low polling percentages, expressed a newfound commitment to voting, emphasizing the importance of representation in addressing local issues. “We have been boycotting the polls in the past, but that has cost us as there was no one to talk about our issues,” said a voter.
Underlining the voters’ quest for genuine representation in the Parliament, Irshad Ahmad from Murran area of Pulwama said: “We are not fighting for basic needs but for a voice who can represent the emotions of people in the Parliament”.
Mustaq Ahmad, a voter from Pampore, highlighted a shift in voter sentiment, indicating growing frustration with persisting problems. “The area used to witness boycotts, but people now are coming to cast their vote as they are fed up with the problems they are facing for the last five years,” he said.
Fayaz Ahmad from Tral area of the district reflected determination among people of Jammu and Kashmir to prevent BJP’s influence in the region. “I am 40, but I have never voted in any Lok Sabha election. However, this time I will not waste my vote and give an advantage to the BJP because an election boycott will indirectly help the saffron party and its proxies,” he said.
However, in some sensitive areas of Srinagar where there used to be boycotts in the past, some people did come to vote but the overall majority remained unconcerned.
In Maisuma area of Srinagar where there were seven Polling Stations, the turnout was low. In Gowkadal Polling Station out of 559 votes, only 50 votes were cast till 2 pm.
In Maisuma Dubji A, B and C Polling Station, out of 1442 votes, only 229 with A polling 63, B 100 and C 65 respectively till 2 pm. In Samandar Bagh area booth-17 out 221 votes, only 29 votes were cast till 2 pm.