Congress starts campaign in south Kashmir, says it will 'instill confidence' among voters

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Congress is campaigning for the District Development Council (DDC) polls in the volatile south Kashmir villages to “instill confidence” among the people to cast their votes.

The party during the past few days has been campaigning in Tral area, where it has reached out to the inhabitants in the upper belts including Naristan – a Gujjar dominated area, Liam, Soinard, Hajannard and Zazbal. A Congress leader said it has carrying a door-to-door campaign downhill in areas including Dharamgund, Basantpora and Laribal.

The party leaders said in south Kashmir, particularly Tral, it was difficult to conduct open rallies. “We get inside the home of some of our acquaintances and address a gathering of 10 to 50 people and make them aware about the importance of their vote,” said a Congress leader, who has been campaigning in the area for the past week. The party is contesting twin DDC segments of Tral including Aripal and Main Tral.

“It is our party that has created the atmosphere for polls in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370,” he said.

Another Congress leader said that unlike BJP that has been focusing on north Kashmir, Congress has been is focusing on south Kashmir.

With J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, a two-time MLA from Dooru, Shahabad, Peerzada Syed, a former MLA from Kokernag and other Congress leaders in the region, Congress draws most of its voter base from the south Kashmir belt. “In 1996, when militancy was its peak, when every political party turned their back for fighting elections, it was Congress that took a lead and our leader Ghulam Rasool Kar took out a peace rally from Uri’s Julla Bridge to Qazigund,” a Congress old guard said.

A local party leader said, “It is important to reach out to the people, to instill confidence among them.”