Most of the people voting in Banakoot constituency of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district that witnessed moderate to brisk polling on Friday said they were voting for basic amenities like electricity, water, roads and healthcare that they had been yearning for years.
“I am 80-years-old. I came out to vote today for some comfort in terms of better roads, first-aid facility and water supply,” said Muhammad Khalil, a retired employee of the Education department who migrated to Brari Pora village of Bandipora from Gurez in 1982.
Khalid said if he falls ill, he had to go all the way to Bandipora and when it snows, the situation gets worse.
Khalil said that his children and grandchildren are all jobless with good qualification.
But for 82-year-old Haji Habibullah Lone, who has not missed casting a vote all of his life says it has not brought any change.
“I am voting to remain in good terms with neighbours,” he said.
Like Khalil, Lone too had migrated to Bandipora to get better basic amenities.
“The basic amenities here are better than what we had in Kanzalwan in Gurez in the 1980s but nothing has improved here since,” he said.
For the locals, the voting is for sheer development.
“We don’t have a health centre, a sheep farm, regular water and electricity supply while education is also a mess,” said Farooq Ahmad Malik, 60, of the nearby Pathkoot village.
In Pazalpora village, a wheel-chair bound 70-year-old Gul Gujjar from Dardagund village was helped by voters and a few security men to climb upstairs to the polling booth.
Gujjar, who has been recently diagnosed with severe anemia and calcium deficiency, said when Kishanganga Hydroelectric Plant came up, a tower was built around his house, nearby stream water has been oozing into his house with repeated requests to administration bearing no fruit.
For the young and first time voters, living in villages around NHPC hydel power project in Kralpora village, unemployment and electricity have been the major drawing force for them to cast their votes in the DDC elections.