Anantnag: Many areas witnessed brisk voting in bypoll to the Anantnag assembly constituency in Jammu and Kashmir with first-time voters visibly excited to exercise their franchise, even as the separatists’ boycott call affected polling in some pockets.
As voting picked up after a slow start in the high profile constituency, where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is in the fray, several first-timers said they were eager to vote and have been encouraging others to be part of the democratic process.
“I am a first-time voter and I feel excited. It is a very good feeling to vote and see how everything is done which I, till now, had just heard about from my elders,” Shagufta Bano said.
She said she was particularly keen to know about the electronic voting machine (EVM). “It felt good to press the button and be a part of something this important,” she said.
Another first-time voter, Nazrana, said voting was her democratic right and called upon the people, who wished to stay away from the polling booths, to exercise their franchise.
“We have a right to vote. I ask the people to come out and vote. It is necessary to vote as in a democracy the government is of and by the people. Why should we boycott?'” she said, when asked about the separatists’ boycott call. Similar excitement was visible on Shazia, who, however, was participating in the electoral exercise for the second time.
“This is the second time that I have voted. But every time it feels exciting,” said Shazia.
Meanwhile, some parts of the constituency, especially near the main town, witnessed some effect of the boycott call.
At around 12 noon, only 33 votes (21 male and 12 female) out of 451 had been polled at a booth in the main town, while in the neighbouring booth, 40 votes were polled out of 754.