Junaid KathjuSrinagar, Oct 16:
Historically known for high voter turnout, the Dal Lake unusually witnessed a boycott.
In a first, the Dal dwellers stayed away from the polling booths in the fourth and final phase of Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls.
Unlike the previous parliamentary and assembly polls, most polling stations set up in the interiors of Dal Lake stretching from Chowdary Bagh, Rainawari to Moti Mohalla in Nishat wore a deserted look.
Talking to Rising Kashmir, many people rejected participating in polls citing reasons of failure of successive governments to meet their prolonged demands.
Others simply rejected to vote saying they support the boycott call of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL).
Manzoor Ahmad Sofi of Kandi Mohalla, who was sitting at his retail shop outside one of the polling stations, castigated the successive governments “for not being able to deliver good governance”.
Sofi said people would vote in the previous polls with a hope that the government would look into their day-to-day grievances “but to no avail”.
In two polling stations at DAV School, Naidyar which falls under Lokut Dal ward 62, only 20 votes were cast.
In Dalkawpora, Wani Mohalla polling station falling under ward 64 also saw a low turnout till 2 pm as no vote was cast in these polling stations.
Similarly, in Kat Mohalla near Nishat which falls under Bud Dal ward 65, of the 226 votes only 20 votes were cast.
Similar scenes were witnessed in Moti Mohalla where mere 30 votes were cast.
The phase-IV of polls to Urban Local Bodies marked low turnout of 4.2 percent in 36 wards in Kashmir.
The Ganderbal Municipal Committee recorded 11.3 percent voter turnout, while the voting percentage was in a single digit in Srinagar with 4.2 percent turnout.
The two major regional political parties National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who used to garner maximum votes from people living in the interiors of Dal Lake in Srinagar had boycotted the polls by linking their non-participation with Government of India (GoI’s) stand on Article 35A, which grants special privileges to residents of the State.
Meanwhile, a group of people sitting on the banks of Dal Lake in Kat Mohalla also refer to lack of willingness of successive governments to work for their betterment but at the same time incited the reason of solidarity with the majority of people who decided to boycott ULB polls.
“What is the point of voting when it benefits only politicians? It is true that we have been voting in previous elections but not anymore,” they said. “We are now with Ittehad-ul Muslimeen.”
Similar thoughts were shared by the residents of Kanikach Mohalla.
“Nobody has voted in our area. It is for the first time that we have boycotted the polls enmasse. These politicians make a fool of us in the name of development but now we have learnt our lessons,” Arshid Hussain, a local said.
The ULB polls are being held in the State including Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) after a gap of 13 years.