In Larnoo, all 5 female candidates vow to empower women

Muneera Akhtar, 30, from Deesu village visited every polling booth in her constituency to ensure that her supporters reached there to vote for her.

Muneera, who is contesting as an independent candidate in the block reserved for women candidates, is upbeat and believes that voting in this election would help empower women.

“The space for women has shrunk. So, if they are there to take decisions, it will help in their political empowerment,” she said.

Muneera is locked in a five-way contest with Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) candidate Khalida Bibi of PDP, Farhana Akhtar of Congress and independent candidates Zahida Akhtar and Sajida Begum.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Zahida said, “Our area is remote and most of the population here is Pahari. The womenfolk here are not well-versed with the various women welfare schemes yet. So, if elected I will ensure that they get all the benefits.”

She said if women are self-reliant, it is the first sign of progress and this election opens an opportunity for them.

The women voters seemed equally enthusiastic and could be seen in long queues outside polling stations waiting for their turn to vote for their favorite candidate.

“I left home soon after taking morning tea, but saw women already lined up,” said Shahzada of Draway village. She said women in the area hope that they be heard.

The mood outside polling stations in other villages of the block was no different with women voters outnumbering their male counterparts.