Groom, centenarians, ailing turn up to exercise franchise in Srinagar Lok Sabha poll : The Tribune India

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Groom, centenarians, ailing turn up to exercise franchise in Srinagar Lok Sabha poll

Groom, centenarians, ailing turn up to exercise franchise in Srinagar Lok Sabha poll

An elderly woman shows her finger marked with indelible ink. Reuters/ANI



PTI

Kangan, May 13

Mohammad Ashraf started a new chapter in life on Monday when he got married and his first stop was a polling station in this Jammu and Kashmir constituency to cast his vote—complete with sherwani, colourful turban and mehndi on his hands.

A newly-wed groom after casting his vote. Reuters/ANI

As Ashraf, the cynosure of much attention, spoke of the importance of voting, others in Jammu and Kashmir, voting for the first time in parliamentary polls since the abrogation of Article 370, also went the extra mile to make sure they exercise their franchise. Among them were centenarians, people in wheelchairs, the ailing and first-timers, the elderly and the young united in their enthusiasm for Election 2024.

An elderly voter at the polling station during voting for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. Reuters/ANI

There was a flutter of sorts when Ashraf entered the polling station at the Boys Higher Secondary School at Kangan in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, which is part of the Srinagar parliamentary constituency. People and poll officials were pleasantly surprised. And the groom had a message for the public too.

“Today is voting day. I came here to cast my vote for someone who will do good for our state and the country,” Ashraf said, asking people not to waste their vote and exercise their right to franchise.

“A vote has a huge value. It helps us to choose our representatives who frame policies for development and employment for us,” he added. Unmindful of the henna on his hand, he went ahead and got indelible ink on his index finger.

On August 5, 2019, Article 370 was abrogated and the erstwhile state of J&K was partitioned into the two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Not far away from Ashraf’s booth, a super-centenarian came out to vote at Shallabug in Ganderbal. Noor Ded, who her family claims is 110 years old, can barely walk or even stand. Nonetheless, she held on to a stick and, supported by a family member, entered the polling station in a village housed inside the government girls high school.

Undeterred by her infirmities, she held up her hand to show her inked finger. She couldn’t talk much either.

Out of the five Lok Sabha constituencies in J-K, Udhampur went to the polls on April 19 and Jammu on April 26. With elections held in Srinagar on Monday, the Kashmir valley voted for the first time in the Lok Sabha elections. Elections will take place in Baramulla on May 20. After representations from some political parties, the Election Commission deferred the polls in the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency from May 7 to May 25.

Noorie Begum, a centenarian, cast her vote in the Pulwama district in south Kashmir. “We vote for a candidate with the hope that he would do good work for us, give employment to our children and address our problems,” Begum said, as she displayed her voting mark.

Munawar Khan, despite being bedridden due to a leg fracture and plaster, came out to vote in the Kangan assembly segment of Ganderbal district. Bound on a wheelchair, Khan said he did not want to waste his vote. “I was injured. I have a fracture in my left foot. But I did not want to waste my vote. So, I cast my vote to elect our representative who will work for our development and betterment,” he said.

Many voters, especially the first-timers, clicked themselves at the ‘selfie points’ established at the pink polling stations across the constituency. A large number of women made up the majority of those who took selfies at the points and displayed their voting marks.

At several polling booths, designated as green booths to raise environmental awareness, the voters were felicitated by the polling officials.

The voters and poll officials even kick-started a plantation drive by planting tree saplings.

#Jammu #Kashmir #Lok Sabha #Srinagar #Turban


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