Tulmulla (Ganderbal): Bansi Lal, the lone native Pandit voter in Tumulla, a village famous for Hindu shrine of Khir Bhawani, was among the first voters to cast his vote early Tuesday morning.
Like his Muslim neighbours, he had boycotted Lok Sabha polls in May this year. But this time, as Muslim voters made beelines for polling stations, he decided to follow in their footsteps.
“The trend this time was quite different from what we saw in the Lok Sabha polls,” said Bansi, a 45-year-old bachelor who works in a post office.
In fact, the “trend” was so tempting that he went a step forward and became PDP’s polling agent in this election. He had voted for the PDP in 2002 elections, too.
“I have lived with my Muslim friends and I prefer not to hurt their feelings. The whole village is following election boycott call given by Hurriyat Conference. So am I,” Bansi had told Kashmir Reader during the Lok Sabha polls this year.
But in contrast to a near complete boycott of Lok Sabha polls, as many as 490 votes out of the total 2,813 votes had been cast till 2pm in one of the polling stations of Tulmulla on Tuesday.
Bansi, known as Kaka Jee among his friends, did not leave when most Kashmiri Pandits migrated from the Valley in 1990 after the eruption of anti-India militancy.
About 100 Pandits from other areas of Ganderbal also live in the temple complex. One of them, Nishat, an engineer, said many such Pandits would cast their votes from Jammu where they have gone to spend winters.
“I am registered with Kangan constituency and I plan to go to Wussan to cast my vote,” he said.
Ganderbal has 1696 migrant voters. Nishat said that NC and PDP had campaigned in Jammu migrant camps to woo those voters.