SRINAGAR: Ghulam Ahmad Rather, who is locally know as Mithi, is the only voter who was willing to come on record for his reason to cast a vote at Sharafabad polling station for Ward-17 in Srinagar on Monday.
Rather, who is in his late sixties, was one of only 20 voters out of a total 1,074 voters who cast their vote at the polling station. Unlike rest of the voters, who were adamant at concealing their identity, Rather was fearless, and clear.
“I cast my vote to get benefits for our village. I am not against anybody. Our village needs roads, electricity, and dispensary. It is a person’s choice whether to vote or stay away. I want to have a representative who can raise our issues before the authorities in a professional manner,” he told Kashmir Reader.
Rather, a resident of Sharifabad area, said he had voted many times in the past. Earlier he a leader of the National Conference (NC), but shifted his loyalties to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Today he voted for Showkat Ahmad, an Independent candidate and former worker of PDP who is close aide of rebel PDP leader Imran Raza Ansari.
Rather has been closely associated with the Ansari family for years now. His history of changing loyalty could be traced from his old “spiritual and political head”, the late Iftikhar Ansari, who himself changed loyalties from NC to Congress to PDP. After Ansari’s death, his sons took over his political and religious legacy.
“Our leader guides us on whom to vote for in elections, but this time we are out to vote on our own for development of our locality,” Rather said.