Long queues assure polling staff of stress-free day

BUDGAM: Just a week ago when a polling officer was killed in a suspected militant attack in South Kashmir’s Shopian area, the polling staff in this central Kashmir district looked calm and more comfortable, courtesy of long queues witnessed outside booths on Wednesday.
While one expected polling staff to be under great distress, but it wasn’t to be, with relatively higher turnout proving to be stress buster.
Early in the day, one could witness some tense faces in the polling booths.
“It was really a hell of night as these nights are always for all of us,” a presiding officer, who identified himself as Ali Mohammad, told Kashmir Reader.
“Life and death is in the hands of Almighty. Believe me I am not scared though my family would not have slept whole night and they even will not have any relief unless I reach home safely,” the officer said while performing his poll duty.
But as the day progressed that saw people coming in large numbers in Budgam tension among the polling staff dissipated.
Kashmir Reader team visited interiors of the district to cover the polling, more resolved and visibly comfortable polling staffs were found.
“Frankly speaking we were very much afraid and scared in first hours of the polling but soon the people came in huge numbers to vote our fears subsided naturally,” an officer on duty at Ichgam, who wished not be named, said.
The long queues, according to the polling staff, gave them an indication that the situation was going to be normal.
“As soon as we saw long queues at our polling station we sensed it would be normal and peaceful day for all of us,” another polling officer at Panzan, Chadoora said.
Do employees have choice to say no to poll duty? “I couldn’t sleep whole night. People say we are getting hefty sums. But that is not the full story. I even excused for this duty but couldn’t prevail over my bosses. Only influential can be excused it seems,” said a polling officer at Chrar-e-Sharief.