The voters in Khanmoh-1 today complained that the “inappropriate” location of some polling booths in the area “debarred us from voting”.
According to the voters, the polling booth for KharMohalla and Shah Mohalla in Khanmoh-1, just a day before polling was scheduled to commence, was suddenly relocated to a high school, around on kilometer from the “original” location.
This one kilometer distance is a steep trek on which women and elderly people cannot walk in chilly season, they said.
“It was a bad decision to relocate the polling booth. I could not go there and vote. I feel shortness of breath when I walk on a steep road,” said Abdul Gaffar, an elderly person of Shah Mohalla.
Shah Mohalla and KharMohalla, jointly have around 8000 votes. These localities have been recording a good turnout in past elections. But very few people made it today to the relocated polling booth. “At every election, the polling booths were established in a local school. Today, it was all of a sudden relocated more than one kilometer away that too on the steep road, as the authorities didn’t want us to appear at the polling booth,” said Sajad Ahmad of KharMohalla.
Similarly, people at Pall Mohalla said that the polling booth for them had been established at a location which was convenient for WaniMohalla, and vice-versa. “I would not hesitate to say this is mismanagement of polling booth locations which has been witnessed by us for the first time,” a group of locals said.
Out of around 9000 votes, Khanmoh-1 recorded just 398 polls, said a group of polling agents who also expressed disappointment over “mismanagement of polling booth locations.”
The eight-phase DDC polls are the first elections in Jammu and Kashmir since the erstwhile state was reorganised into two union territories last year after the abrogation of its special status.