WUSSAN: In the hometown of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Abdul Qayoom Wani, it was a festive day on Thursday as people flocked to polling stations amid a carnival like atmosphere.
With nine candidates in fray, polling for the Baramulla parliament seat began early at 7am and ended in the evening at 5pm. At the polling booth located in Wussan, the hometown of Wani, enthusiastic youth and women voters were seen in large numbers.
With the pleasant spring weather contributing to the festive spirit, voters especially women dressed in their colourful best were seen queuing outside the polling booths from as early as 7am.
“We want to vote early and become free for the day. We want to relax and enjoy after exercising our franchise,” said Mohammad Qasim Wani, a man in his fifties.
Women were also seen in sizeable numbers outside the polling booths early in the morning. “We have decided not to delay casting our votes. We want to be part of the democratic process and prove the importance of our vote,” said Shazia Akther, a young woman.
First-time voter Lateef Ahmad said, “I have never voted in my entire life. Today I have come to vote not because my opinion regarding the Kashmir issue has changed but because I am a neighbour of the candidate.”
He added, “Voting in his favour is not so much a choice as a compulsion. Everyone in this village is the relative of the candidate. So, there is no point in skipping the election.”
Two polling stations were established here, designated as Wussan-A and Wussan-B. They had 705 and 702 voters registered, respectively.
In Wussan-A, 305 voters were polled till 11:30am and in Wussan-B, 288 votes by the same time.
“We are hopeful of the victory of our candidate. This is the first time that a candidate from our area is contesting elections for a Parliament seat,” said Manzoor Ahmad, a government employee.
“Our hopes are bound with him and we pray for his victory. Besides being a man of guts, he has good knowledge of politics and of events taking place across the globe,” he said.