Majority voters seek development, say using vote power for issues

A first-time voter proudly displays her inked finger after casting her vote. -Excelsior/Shakeel
A first-time voter proudly displays her inked finger after casting her vote. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Irfan Tramboo

SRINAGAR, May 25: The majority of people who participated in the polls during Phase-6 of the Lok Sabha elections in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency today said they came out to vote to seek development of their area and an end to unemployment.
Throughout the day, Excelsior spoke with a cross section of voters-men, women, and youngsters-standing in queues outside their respective Polling Stations, and most of them highlighted the lack of development and basic facilities in their areas.

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At the same time, there were also many voters who said their votes had yielded nothing over the years, but they were giving it another chance, hoping for something better and worthwhile to come.
“My vote is against the injustice we have been facing; this area has been given nothing in the name of basic facilities. The one who has my vote today should understand our pain and issues. Those who came did nothing for us so far. But we are hopeful now they will,” said Nazir Ahmad Deedar, who was standing in a queue at Batakote Polling Station in South Kashmir’s Pahalgam.
Muhammad Shafi, another voter from the same area but at a different Polling Station, underlined the need for electing representatives who would raise the issues of the people, facing difficulties, and getting them addressed.
Moving down from near Aishmuqam, first-time voter Bilal Ahmad, 25, told Excelsior that unemployment has become “unbearable” for people and that there is a need to use the power of the vote to address this issue, including the lack of development in the entire area.
“Those who came did not meet our expectations; however, this time, there is hope of electing an able person who would address the issues faced by the people of this area,” he said.
At the Polling Station established at Govt High School, Ganeshpora, Zulaikha Bibi said that they should be allowed to utilize their forest land, noting that sustenance had become difficult for them over the years. “More so, there are other issues which we face on a day-to-day basis, and we want a resolution for that,” she said.
In another area, reached after traveling several kilometers uphill, Lidroo, the youngsters, as well as the elderly, demanded better availability of basic amenities and overall development of the area, which they said has been missing over the years.
“Voting is my right. We want developmental works to be carried out here in this area, which is lacking on various fronts, especially with regard to the availability of basic amenities; the vote should not be wasted and should rather be used to elect a better representative,” said Irshad Ahmad Khan, 21, from Lidroo, a first-time voter.
While some voters said that in the past some works were done, while others were not done at all, many others claimed they only see politicians during election season, only to disappear afterward.
“Whatever issues we have been facing for the last several years are still there. They claim they have done everything, but on the ground, they have done nothing for people. We are hopeful this time, but still, we don’t know what they will do in response,” said Ghulam Hassan, 65, from Sallar.
Earlier, when the Excelsior team was at the main market in Pahalgam, the pony walas were seen busy with their routine job of offering horse rides to the tourists.
Most of them said that before starting their day, they first ensured that they cast their vote at their respective Polling Stations, hoping for measures from the candidate they elect to further boost tourism in the area.
However, there was also a small section that said they were not voting in this election due to the failure of the previously elected members in addressing their issues. “When that happens, it feels like the vote does not mean anything; we didn’t cast our votes,” said an aggrieved ponywala