No poll activities, voters undecided, candidates fear boycott

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Bandipora (North Kashmir), Nov 11 (UNI) Barring few flags of political parties and half a dozen vehicles appealing voters to take part in the polling on November 17 in three Assembly segments of the district, people remained busy in their normal activities.

We are not interested in polls, majority of people on the streets told a UNI correspondent who visited different areas of the constituency.

Not a single contesting candidate or political party could organise any big election rally since the process of electioneering started, said Abdul Ahad a shopkeeper in the main market.

He said younger generation is totally not interested in polls.

However, an elderly person Abdul Gaffar, sipping tea in a tea stall, said he will vote for his candidate.

I have been participating in every election since Sixties, he said adding he will vote under any circumstances.

But he too admitted that this time the election fever was missing against 2002 when political parties were holding massive public meetings, even before the elections were announced.

He said even during 1996 when miliants were active, poll meetings were being held almost daily by different contestants in the constituency.

This time the situation has entirely changed, he said adding there is no serious militant threat but still people stay away from elections.

We have not decided yet whether to vote or stay away as was appealed by the separatists, said a group of youths in a local hotel.

They alleged that youths are being victimised by police and security forces for their participation in the pro freedom procession during the Amarnath land row.

Is this a democracy, they asked and said majority youths have now decided not to participate in such a democratic process.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate from Bandipora constituency Nizam Uddin Bhat was busy directing party workers how to woo the voters in his favour in his office room in the main market.

We have been conducting meetings to take part in the polls, Mr Bhat said and expressed the confidence of his making it to Assembly this time.

Mr Bhat hold a public meeting at Tangath forest yesterday to woo voters in his favour.

Interestingly a rally of about 200 people was organised by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in a local stadium field where leaders appealed people, mostly Gujjars from forest areas, to vote for the party candidate.

This correspondent could see some flags of different political parties.

Contesting candidates are now started door-to-door campaigning in the segment.

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