PoK resident amazed to see elections in India

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Rajouri, Nov 23 (UNI) ''Kaash aisa manzar hamare yahan bhi hota (I wish it would have been same there in our side),'' said Pervez Khan, a visitor from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

He was short of words to share his experience when he saw ''lively'' democratic election in Jammu and Kashmir.

''Hamare yahan to itna khulam-khula election nahin hota hai.

Yahan election to jashan-e-aam lagta hai. (We never have such open elections. Here it's like a common celebration),'' said Pervez Khan, who had come last month from village Khuireta of Mirpur Kotli in PoK to meet his relatives in Rajouri.

In PoK, he said, elections are usually a closed door affair and not a big fanfare like here in India.

The visitor, who was having tea in a stall in the town here, told UNI that he had never seen such open election rallies and campaigns as he had seen in the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri.

''Election main yahaan aisa mahol dekh kar taazub hota hai (I'm surprised to see such a vibrant election atmosphere here),'' Khan said.

He was also amazed to see the large number of independent candidates contesting Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir.

Neither the people in PoK prefer an independent candidate, nor the candidates prefer to contest without party mandate, Khan disclosed.

''We only have Muslim Conference and People's Party at our side.

If an independent candidate fails to get a minimum of 3,000 votes, he is barred to contest as an Independent for lifetime,'' the PoK resident said.

Pointing at the posters and hoardings of contestants, Khan said, ''I have never seen this before.'' He appreciated the development that has taken place on the Indian side of Line of Control (LoC).

Liking the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), Khan said he would love to press a button to cast his vote rather than putting stamp on a ballotpaper and then dropping it into a box.

''I personally feel that there is less chance of interference with EVMs than the ballot boxes which can be rigged easily,'' he said.

The governments in India and Pakistan have opened LoC to facilitate people of separated parts of Jammu and Kashmir to meet as a part of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) between the two countries.

UNI VJ AE RP GC1710

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