Scant polling in Shopian areas

Scant polling in Shopian areas
Empty Polling station in Shopian

Wearing faded jeans and pullovers, a group of youth are sitting outside government high school Chitragam in south Kashmir's Shopian district. The school houses seven polling stations as dozens of polling booths were clubbed in the district.

The youth in a low pitched sound discuss about the pollingin their Wachi constituency for the third leg of Anantnag Lok Sabhaconstituency. Although they steered clear from the poll process, they are keento know who will fetch more votes from their constituency.

"People are slowly showing up at the polling station,"said a youth.

The two polling stations– Chitragam A and and B polled 555votes out of 1913 votes.

While voters trickle into the polling stations at Chitragamand Zainpora, there were over 70 polling stations where no polling took placeat all.

Some of the villages which witnessed deserted polling boothsincluded Malder, Pargochi, Turkwangam, Urpara Nagabal, Nully Poshpora, Woyenand Tulran.

Of total 83542 electors, the constituency recorded a totalnumber of 1438 votes.

In Adkhar village, many youth told Greater Kashmir that theresidents stayed away from the polling as all the successive governmentsignored the village.

Pointing towards a road dotted by pot holes, Feroz AhmadBhat, a fruit grower said, "See the condition of our roads. There is nodevelopment at all in our village. I voted both in 2018 and 2014 elections butto no avail" Ahmad said.

On May 3, three militants including an aide of Burhan Waniwere killed in an encounter with security forces in the area.

A few kilometers away in Urpora Nagbal Panchayat Halqa, mostof the people said that they did not vote.

"Our village traditionally does not vote for anypolitical party. We did not vote in previous election either," said a localresident who did not wish to be named.

In important Imamsahab block, many residents said that theydid not turn up at polling station as the area was lagging behind indevelopment.

"Over past 60 years our area was never developed. Anydevelopmental project that government takes up goes on at snail's pace," saidZai-ul-Rehman.

An octogenarian woman who cast her ballot at a pollingstation in Imamsahab said that there was hardly any election when she did notvote.

Many of those who voted said that they wanted a change inthe prevailing situation in Kashmir.

The constituency also witnessed multiple clashes in at leasthalf a dozen villages including Dangam, Vehil and Ganowpora villages.

A police official said that many residents came out of theirhouses and threw stones on the security forces.

The forces fired pellets and tear smoke shells on thecivilians.

The Wachi assembly segment has remained restive since 2016.

On Sunday, around 39 poll parties along with electionmaterial were air lifted to Zainpora sub division from District Police LinesPulwama.

"They are being again ferried by choppers from Zainporato Shopian," said a poll official.

Better poll turnout in upper areas

Meanwhile, people in the upper areas of the district turnedout in comparatively good numbers during the last leg of voting.

Four polling booths in Manloo area along the upper belt ofthe district witnessed a high voter turnout. Of total 1508 votes, around 833were polled.

The polling stations in Chanchamarg, Zampathri and Nagbal villagesalso witnessed a good turnout.

The belt is traditionally a strong pocket of People'sDemocratic Party. The party leader and lawmaker Zaffar Manhas hails from thesame area

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