Rehab a major poll issue in flood-hit Homeshali Bugh

KULGAM: The flood-hit Homeshalibugh constituency of south Kashmir is all set for a triangular battle between People’s Democratic Party (PDP), National Conference (NC), and Congress—all of whom are banking upon their promises to rehabilitate the affected people.
As the constituency goes to polls Tuesday, the candidates of the Valley’s two principal pro-India parties, PDP and NC, are expected to face a tough competition from Inaytullah Rather of Congress.
PDP has gone with Abdul Gaffar Sofi, who won from here both in 2002 and 2008 elections. Abdul Majid Larmi, who is an MLC, is contesting for NC.
Given that the constituency was devastated by the September floods, the contestants’ efforts for victory have been revolving around the promise to rehabilitate the victims after coming to power.
“People of my constituency know I was not in the government (at the time of floods). Yet, I did everything I could as MLA for the flood-ravaged people. I hope the people will vote for my party, which they know can take measures for their rehabilitation,” Sofi told Kashmir Reader.
NC’s Larmi admits the government’s failure in rehabilitating the flood-hit people and claims to have made efforts at the personal level to help the victims.
“If elected to the Assembly, rehabilitation of flood-hit people will be my priority. I will rebuild every devastated village here,” he said.
On the other hand, the Congress candidate blames both PDP and NC of “pushing the constituency into the darkness”.
“The constituency has been either with NC or PDP since 1977, yet the roads here continue to be the same as they were 40 years ago; people cry for a drop of water. And the recent floods have added to their miseries,” he said.
“My priority will be to provide homes to those rendered homeless by the floods. Besides, I will fight for granting backward status to the constituency,” he added.
People, however, don’t read much into the promises being made by the candidates.
“At least 80 percent villages of the constituency were devastated by the floods, but only people from unaffected villages and some NGOs came to our help. Now at the time of elections, these politicians have started to beg for votes,” a youth from Hassanpora village said, wishing anonymity. “They are doing politics over our miseries.”
The BJP too has fielded a known political face from the area, Ghulam Nabi Dar, in the elections. While he is expected to bag a share of the overall votes in the constituency of 82,000 voters, his presence, however, doesn’t seem to affect the triangular nature of the contest.