Anantnag: There has been dull campaigning in south Kashmir for the first phase of District Development Council (DDC) polls scheduled on November 28, with political leaders expecting at least 25 per cent voter turnout.
Southern districts of Kashmir did not witness any major public convention or rally by political parties to lure voters.
“Given the prevailing atmosphere in south Kashmir, the campaign has remained confined to closed-door meetings only,” a political leader, who is contesting DDC polls, was quoted having said by KNO.
He said that elections are being conducted in a hurry and people were yet to come out of the shock of the scrapping of the special status of J&K.
Raja Waheed, a PDP leader, who is contesting DDC election from Shopian on PAGD ticket said, “We have been conducting a door-to-door campaign, however, no big gathering has been managed yet as the environment isn’t safe for big rallies.”
He said that voter turnout will depend on the first phase and if people come out in phase one, other people will follow suit. “At present, as the condition suggests, voter turnout must remain around 25 per cent. If that happens, it would be enough for us,” he said.
District President BJP for Pulwama, Sajad Raina, who is also contesting elections from Pulwama-1 said that PDP, NC can not campaign as they have done nothing for the welfare of the people when they were in power.
“Arrangements are very well here and every candidate is allowed to move freely for campaigning. I think voter turnout will remain around 10 to 15 per cent,” he said.
Showkat Gayoor, Apni Party leader, who is also contesting elections said that “we are not allowed to campaign freely and our campaign has remained mostly confined to phone calls and messages.”
He said that it would be enough even if the voter turnout touches 15 to 20 per cent in DDC polls given the situation in south Kashmir.
National Conference leader Mukhtar Ahmad Bandh, who is the son of former Minister Muhammad Khalil Bandh, said that people must come forward to stop BJP as “our everything is being snatched by them.”
He said that giving a mandate to PAGD candidates can stop BJP from snatching “our more resources and can get back our own identity which was snatched on August 5 last year.”
He said, “I think voter turnout will remain around 10 per cent given the situation in the area as campaigning has remained confined to indoors so far.”
Javaid Ahmad, a leader of Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, said: “There is a disparity in arrangements as settled politicians are allowed to move freely. However, new people are being kept confined to their rooms.”
Pertinently, voting for the first phase of DDC election is scheduled to be held on November 28. (KNO)