In Budgam, people who voted in the eighth and last phase of District Development Councils (DDC) polls said they voted to “bring in an era of change”.
In Ichgam, few kilometers ahead of Budgam district headquarters, a group of first-time voters said, “We came out to vote for the growth and development of the area.”
Adil Abbasi, a first-time voter said, earlier he used to be cynical about voting but voted this time with a hope that it helps overcome the “growth deficit” of his area.
Fayaz Ahmad Rather, another voter from Ichgam, said that the people of his village had pinned hopes on a local, independent candidate as traditional mainstream political parties had “only worked for their personal benefits”.
Several female voters said that they were hopeful that the candidate they voted for would bring development to the area.
“During my lifetime, I have voted eight times. This time, I voted believing a responsible person will be chosen who will help our area get good roads, power connectivity and potable water supply,” an elderly voter, Rahti said.
Ghulam Muhammad, another voter said, “People are giving the candidate a one-time chance on merit. If the candidate doesn’t perform, a voter has the power to dethrone him in the next polls.”
He said people of his area were hoping that their elected representative would help them get affordable technology-driven farm equipment so that they could irrigate their agricultural land with water from the nearby streams.