J&K first-time voters root for development

Mohammad Asif, a university student, was excited as he stood in a queue of voters, outside a crowded polling station in Safapora village of this north Kashmir district on Wednesday.

Asif, one among the 1,48,480 first-time young voters in the state, had come to caste his vote at a polling station—108-Safapora-F, where 478 votes out of 1215 were cast till 3 pm. “I have come to vote for the candidatewhoI think will help generate employment in the state. Iwant that the candidate who is elected should work for the development in my area,” Asif told Deccan Herald.

Ghulam Hassan, another first-time voter said, “For a healthy democracy, there should be change of guard after every five years, so that the political parties don’t misuse the power and can be kept under constant check by the public.” “I voted for a candidate who can deliver and fulfill the requirements of the people in general and youth in particular,” he added. Imshan Ahmad Malla, a college student in the nearby Sumbal area was also excited to vote for the first-time. “Presently, youth is in desperation as they see their future bleak.Vote is the onlypower in our hands through which we can determine our future,” he said at the polling booth 75-Wangipora A in Sumbal, where 504 people out of 815 hadcast their votes till 3:15pm.

On asking why people in his village rejected the pollboycott call of the separatists, Malla said, “We have suffered because of their (Hurriyat’s) wrong policies. Why should we listen to them? Even if we get freedom tomorrow, there will still be elections and we will have to vote for some party.” Thevoter turnout at various booths in Sonwari constituency was good with many women coming out to cast their votes.

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