Brisk polling in Bonakoot, but voters ‘skeptical’

The village mostly consists of voters from Gujjar community.

Ejaz-ul-Haq Bhat
Bandipora, Publish Date: Dec 12 2018 12:56AM | Updated Date: Dec 12 2018 2:18AM
Brisk polling in Bonakoot, but voters ‘skeptical’Representational Pic

Most voters who turned up at polling booths in Panar village of Bonakoot block in Bandipora district Tuesday said they voted to “get our local issues redressed” but appeared skeptical and hopeless too.

At the end of the polling time, 45.96 percent turnout was recorded in the block that went to polls in the ninth and last phase of panchayat polls, an official said.

“We voted for better road connectivity, electricity, water supply and sanitation. We also want our IAY cases cleared. This village has been ignored by the successive regimes,” said a group of voters in Panar village.

Most voters appeared skeptical and hopeless even after casting their vote, saying “we have always been ignored despite voting in every election. Nobody has bothered to get our issues resolved.”

“We continue to vote with the hope that one day our elected representatives might wake up and resolve the issues that we are facing.”

The village mostly consists of voters from Gujjar community.

A man in his mid-60s, who identified himself as Muhammad Yousuf Baani, said the successive regimes have “failed us as the village has been ignored on all fronts”.

“We don’t have proper roads. We hardly see electricity. The village doesn’t have a potable water supply. A school here lacks proper infrastructure like playing field, washrooms and other basic facilities,” he said, adding: “In order to get these issues resolved, we came out to vote today. And then casting vote is our right. But every time we vote, we are left disappointed. This time we have to choose representatives from amongst ourselves as the panchayat elections have local importance”.

He, however, lamented that they elected sarpanchs last time “who did nothing for the betterment of the village.”

“We have to walk miles on foot as villages here lack proper road connectivity. Many deserving residents have not been given IAY cards despite completing all the formalities. This is the reason we voted today,” said Ghulam Rasool, another vote. “But we don’t expect much from sarpanchs and panchs given the past experience.”

A 65-year-old woman who identified herself as Beeba Begum of Mantrigam village said she voted to get her old-age pension case cleared.

“My husband Ghulam Ahmad Ahanger died nine years ago but till date I have not received a penny as old age pension even after submitting all the documents in the concerned department. Today I came to vote to get my case pursued through the local sarpanch,” she said.

Bonakoot block has 14 sarpanch halqas out of which three remained vacant while two sarpanchs were elected unopposed. The polling was held in remaining nine sarpanch halqas for which 19 candidates were in the fray.

The 14 halaqas of Bonakoot block comprise 100 panch wards out of which 38 remained vacant, 36 panchs were elected unopposed while elections were held in 26 panch wards for which 52 candidates were in the fray.

This is the only block in Bandipora district where elections were held in maximum number of sarpanch halqas. 

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