'Voted for development'

Despite cold, large number of people came out here to exercise their franchise for what they said the development of their area.

The turnout, which was low as voting began at 7 am, improved through the day as the temperatures rose.

Long queues could be seen outside polling booths. “This is a vote for development and we are electing our own village people this time around,” said Zahoor Ahmad of Theed village of Harwan.

At a polling station, 45 votes had been cast till 11 am. “Since 7.30am people are exercising their franchise,” said the presiding officer.

At another booth at Harwan, a large number of people were in queue waiting to cast their vote.  The politicians, a group of voters said, would be inaccessible, but in these elections which are for the grassroots development the people in the fray “are from among us”.

Hamid, a young student of Fakir Gojree who voted for the first time said that their village was underdeveloped. “We barely see electricity and our roads are in a shambles. We are electing representatives from our own village and have high hopes with them,” he said.

His accomplice, Tariq Ahmad said that they have come out to vote for a local candidate who could address their day-to-day issues.  “We have many issues that need attention, need to be resolved,” he said.

A group of voters at Mulnard said that they have been voting as they will now be in direct contact with their representatives.  “It was hard for us to find MLA and now our representative will be in our village,” they said. “We exercised our franchise with the hope that the elected DDC candidates will solve our grievances within no time.”