Candidates unknown, voters disinterested, polls in south Kashmir vapid prospects

Candidates unknown, voters disinterested, polls in south Kashmir vapid prospects
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Anantnag: Candidates who have filed nominations for the upcoming municipal polls in south Kashmir are keeping a low profile, as the threat of militants looms large over them.
The candidates have had no media interactions so far and the authorities have not given out any names. Efforts to trace out these candidates and talk to them have proved to be futile. Government officials have remained tight-lipped about the identity of these candidates.
Kashmir Reader talked to many officials in district administrations across south Kashmir but they simply refused to speak on this point.
“Ask me anything but not this. I am not going to talk about elections. No one will, I guess,” a senior official in Pulwama district administration told Kashmir Reader.
The officials also acknowledged that they had not made public the name of any candidate.
“I will not comment on that. Please, let us talk about the elections after they are over,” an official in Anantnag district administration said, when asked whether the names were being kept under covers for security reasons.
This reporter talked to a BJP leader from Shopian district who, on condition of anonymity, said that his party had not fielded any candidates so far.
“I would have surely made you talk to my candidates, if I had any at all. I am still looking for candidates. Maybe I will find some tomorrow,” the BJP leader said.
Congress leaders that Kashmir Reader talked to said they would make no comment on this matter.
Even before the dates for elections were announced, militants had started issuing threats to anyone who participates in them.
“We have got drums of Sulphuric and Hydrochloric acid, and we will blind anyone who participates in the elections. They should know how our pellet-blinded children feel,” Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo had said in an audio message.
People living in areas where municipal polls are scheduled to be held on October 13 seemed to be least bothered, so much so that they did not even know the dates of the polls.
Polls are scheduled be held for municipal councils of Awantipora and Tral in Pulwama district and Mattan, Seer, Aishmuqam and Pahalgam in Anantnag district.
The people in these areas that Kashmir Reader talked to had responses ranging from, “When are the polls?” to “Why are you asking me about it? As if I have to cast a vote!”
Some people even doubted the numbers of candidates that are being put out by the authorities.
“Where are these candidates?” asked a resident of Tral, and so did a resident of Pulwama town.