No takers of poll boycott call in Jammu region

A long queue at a polling booth in Muthi on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
A long queue at a polling booth in Muthi on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Oct 8: Showing total faith in democracy of the country, people of Jammu region defied the poll boycott call of National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and came out in large numbers to cast their votes in the Urban Local Body (ULB) elections with full enthusiasm and fervor in entire region during the first phase of polling today.
The people of the Jammu region gave such a jolt to the two Kashmir centric parties that in the constituencies which are represented by their candidates in the Assembly, the voter turnout was much higher. What can be called a setback to the leadership of the two parties that from 80 to 90 percent voting turnout was recorded in the areas represented by the NC and PDP MLAs from this region in the State Assembly.
The party activists of NC and PDP gave such a big blow to their respective parties that in various areas they fielded proxy candidates to fight the ULB elections thereby defying their party dictates to boycott the elections. They termed the poll boycott call an “anti democratic decision” of their political bosses who have always sabotaged holding of ULB and Panchayat elections in the State as they were never interested in strengthening democracy at grass root level so that its benefits are reaped by common masses.
The PDP and NC activists who showed their full faith in the democratic institutions of the country were seen openly canvassing against the poll boycott call of their respective parties and asking people to participate in the elections to strengthen basic democratic institutions in the State.
As per reports in Thanamandi Municipal Committee, which falls in Rajouri Assembly segment represented by PDP MLA, Choudhary Qamar -ud-Din, highest voting turnout of 90.23 percent was reported while in Rajouri Municipal Committee 74.71 percent people cast their votes.
Likewise in Poonch Assembly segment, which is represented by Shah Mohammed Tantry also of PDP, 70.94 percent polling was reported for Poonch Municipal Council.
In Bishnah Assembly segment, which is represented by NC’s Dr Kamal Arora in the State Assembly, 85.15 percent voting was reported in Bishnah Municipal Committee while 79.07 percent voting was recorded in Arnia Municipal Committee which also is a part of Bishnah Assembly segment. It may be recalled that one Member of BJP was already declared elected unopposed for Arnia Municipal Committee.
Such an enthusiasm was witnessed among the voters across the Jammu, its suburbs and towns during the ULB elections today that people were seen standing in front of polling booths at various places in long queues to wait for their turn to cast their votes in much overdue Municipal elections which were held after a gap of 13 years.
The enthusiasm shown by the people irrespective of their religion and caste in casting the vote has given a signal to both the mainstream parties of Kashmir that there were no takers for their boycott call. There was a festive look around almost all polling booths in the Jammu city and its outskirts with political activists agents of candidates and voters coming and going out of polling booths.
As people call elections the festival of democracy and really it look like a festival in front of all polling stations with agents sitting on chairs under colourful canvas tents and voters and political activists sitting along them.
Realizing the value of democracy the voters were seen calmly casting their vote on their turn without disturbing the other voters and leaving the polling booth to avert any disturbance to other people coming for exercising their franchise.
At polling Station Gurah Brahamana of Ward 65, a centenarian Mohammed Noor -ud-Din who was assisted by his relative Rafiq Ahmed came to cast his vote.
At various places people including men, women as well as fresh voters were seen enquiring about their voter slips and booth numbers from the agents of the candidates.
The first time voters were seen very jubilant in casting their votes to elect the representative of their choice from their respective Wards for development and better civic amenities.
As polling began at 7 am sharp but the voters had reached the polling booths much earlier before the schedule time and they were waiting in queues to cast their votes on first come first go basis.