Shopian: With three percent polling in municipal elections for nine councillors, Shopian Town on Friday repeated what it did in last year’s parliament elections, when only 3.2 percent of voters turned up at the polling stations. Among the 10,568 voters registered for the municipal elections, only 337 exercised their franchise.
However the polling percentage for DDC elections for Shopian I and Shopian II constituencies was much higher. The two constituencies include the Gujjar areas of Divpora and Hirpora, situated some 12 kilometers from district headquarters.
In the DDC election in Shopian I, of 11,064 voters, 3,459 exercised their franchise. In Shopian II constituency, of the 12,283 votes, 1,892 voted.
Farooq Ahmad, a first-time voter from Divpora, told Kashmir Reader that he cast his vote for a tribal candidate to see development in his area. “The people which our elders voted for in the past didn’t do anything for us, but now we voted for a candidate from our own community so that he can bring development to this underdeveloped area,” he said.
Rows of voters were seen in Hirpora, Divpora, Padpawan and Balpora areas, but minimal voting was seen in the main town, Wathoo, Shirmal and other villages.
Abdul Ahad Dar, an elderly voter from Balpora village, said that he exercised his franchise for the want of a dispensary a road in his village.
Another young voter from Hirpora said that he voted to keep communal elements at bay. “Our main concern is the special status which was snatched from us and to keep at bay those who want a communal divide,” he said.
A voter who was coming out of the polling Station at government girls’ higher secondary school, Shopian, while keeping mask on his face said that no candidate campaigned in the town which was responsible for the low turnout in the municipal area. “Nobody came to us to ask for vote, that is why least people voted in the town,” he said.
Another person who was sitting a few meters away from the polling station said that they want construction of drains against their vote in the town.