No banners, buntings, road shows, drum beats in north Kashmir LS segment, locals say mood missing
Srinagar, April 03: Just a week left for the first phase of the crucial five-phased parliamentary polls in Jammu and Kashmir, there is no election enthusiasm, no posters or banners of political parties let alone “pomp and show” that otherwise was a regular feature of the poll campaigning in 2014 in Kashmir.
The police in its advisory to the politicians and the contesting candidates have already made it clear that there should be no road shows in any parliamentary constituency as it poses a great risk to the politicians in the wake of prevailing security environment in Kashmir in the backdrop of deadly Lethpora, suicide attack on February 14, that left 40 CRPF men dead.
KNO team conducted an extensive tour to north Kashmir’s Bandipora district to gauge the poll mood.
Abdur Rehman, a shopkeeper and an ardent supporter of National Conference, who lives in north Kashmir’s Sumbal area of Bandipora said that there is no festivity this time as far as parliamentary polls are concerned.
“Last year, there were huge rallies, banners, posters and drum beating as well. This time, all is missing and it seems that there are no polls going to take place, its strange,” Rehman said.
There is no political fervour despite major political parties – National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Peoples Conference and others in the fray. For Javaid Ahmed who runs an tea stall on Gulmarg road, “josh” in campaigning is missing this time.
As per Ahmad, it is due to their earlier representatives having left them in lurch during their testing times. Farooq Ahmad Tantray, a 2nd year Arts student from the village attributes anger among the youngsters to arrest of two local boys.
“They are behind the bars for two years. Their families even sold their lands to get them released, but they couldn’t. Even they tried to approach political leaders with the hope that at least they would highlight their plight. What for one will vote now?” said Tantray.
A few kilometers ahead of Wusan village, a group of boys said that they wont allow a sell-out of Kashmir struggle. “No election, no selection, we want freedom,” they shouted.
“Whosoever will raise buntings, we will tear them apart.” However, for elderly farmers Khazir Mohammad Bhat and Habibullah Bhat – in their 70s – at Manglore village “the promises made by the political parties ahead of elections are never fulfilled.”
Like other areas in the constituency, Batapora village has same problems of electricity, roads and development, but the major worry for locals now is the ban on extraction of boulders from Ferozpur nallah passing through their village.
“In over 50 villages, right from Tangmarg to Babagund Pattan, associated with extraction of boulders from the stream. In view of no jobs there are educated people who used to chalk their living through it. They should tell us what to do,” said Ghulam Mohiuddin, a local sitting in a food kiosk.
National Conference leader and the contesting candidate for north Kashmir seat, Muhammad Akbar Lone said that it was obvious that there is less enthusiasm among the people this time around. “People have suffered a lot. I am doing my bit and meeting people in rallies and small gatherings,” he said