*Voted for development of our respective areas, say voters in Sumbal, Gurez*
Bandipora, Nov 28 (KNO): The voters who turned up in large numbers in three panchayat blocks of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district during the first phase of District Development Council (DDC) elections said that they exercised their franchise for the development of their respective areas.
Braving freezing temperatures in snow-bound Gurez valley, voters came out in large numbers and cast their votes, while the situation remained largely peaceful throughout the day.
Talking to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the voters said they have voted for a change and development in their respective areas. “These elections are about local issues and that is the reason we came out to vote. We voted for the development of our villages as the successive representatives have failed to develop these areas,” they said.
A group of voters who had gathered outside a polling station in Sumbal block said that they cast their vote because they have been deceived by the politicians over the years and their areas have been lagging behind in terms of development.
Meanwhile, voters in Gurez, who came out in large numbers despite harsh weather conditions said that they have two major problems in the area and that is the reason they came out to vote.
“In the winter months, we remain cut off from the rest of the valley and the second biggest problem is we don’t have proper mobile connectivity. That is why we now consider it appropriate to stand up and support our local representatives and we hope they will serve us better,” they said.
Pertinently, the area remains cutoff from Kashmir for almost six months following heavy snowfall and the residents, Army and Border Security Force units situated at the LoC have to stock their ration and other essential items well in advance before the weather shuts down the only road link, which passes through high mountain passes.
Meanwhile, an independent DDC candidate from Sumbal block, Abdul Rasheed Mir, after casting his vote, said that “We can’t bring Article 370 back to Kashmir as it is a major issue. My motive is just development of my area and that is why I came forward.”
He also said that he has not seen any development since 2016 in his area. “People voted in the assembly elections for their representatives, who never came to see the condition of the people nor have they ever come to visit their respective areas.”
Similarly, a group of voters said that they have cast their votes only for the development as these are the local elections. “We will not be able to describe what difficulties we have faced in the last two years. We came out to overcome these difficulties through our local representatives,” they said.
Pertinently, the first phase of DDC polls and panchayat by-elections were held today in Gurez, Tulail and Sumbal panchayat blocks—(KNO)