Mixed response to voting in Kangan belts

The Kangan assembly in Ganderbal district, which went to polls in the second phase of parliamentary elections Thursday, saw moderate polling in its upper belts and a relatively low turnout in the lower areas.

Moderate turnout was witnessed in Rezan, Nilgrar, Gagangeer, Kulan, Rayil, Gund, Fraw, Haknar, Sumbal-Bala and Wudar.

As against this, the footfall of voters was not that high—as seen in the past—at polling booths in the area’s lower belts, including Mamar, Bonibagh, Kangan town, Akhal, Kijpora, Chhatetgul, Najwan, Hayan, Cherwan, Preng, Wussan, Wayil, Nunar, Dursuma and Manigam.

Wearing their tribal traditional dresses, people, mostly from Gujjar community, came out in large numbers to vote at Baba Nagri, Kathi Wangat, Naranag, Poshkar, Hariganiwan, Katchpatree, Thune Pati, Dard Wudar, Chhatetgul Bala, Surfraw and Margund, where voter turnout remained comparatively high than other parts of the assembly segment.

At Nunar A and B polling booths, the voter turnout remained very low as an engineer-turned-militant from the area was killed recently in a gunfight with security forces in southern Shopian district, local residents said.

Residents of Kangan, who cast their votes in favour of their favourite candidates, said they had several reasons to vote.

“How can we stop the storm against Muslims in the country; how can we protect Articles 370 and 35-A; how can we raise our developmental issues at the national level? I think the only way to safeguard our interests is to vote in favour of a candidate who can fight to address all these issues,” said Haji Maliha, an elderly person from Gujjar community in Hariganiwan area.

“I have never voted for any candidate. I believe that by participating in the voting exercise, we are causing damage to the Kashmir cause,” a youth, who was sitting on a roadside at Kangan town, said.