Bhaderwah (JK), Nov 20: It is famous as "mini Kashmir" for its resemblance to scenic beauty of the Valley, but mountain-locked Bhaderwah lacks development and basic tourism infrastructure which people allege is due to the "discrimination" meted out to it.
As Bhaderwah in Jammu region goes to polls in first phase on November 25, many residents say that this time they would vote for a candidate who can help bring the place on the country's tourism map.
"We have everything here, beautiful meadows, mountains, lush green forests, scenic waterfalls, but we have always been ignored in the past," said Manoj Kumar, a Bhaderwah resident. Kumar said the residents of this mountainous town have decided to elect a representative who could get them their due share of development.
"In Bhaderwah, we lack basic tourism infrastructure as we have always been ignored. But not anymore. This time our vote is for the candidate who not only makes promises but brings developments in our area," said Om Parkash, a resident of the main town of Bhaderwah.
Almost all major political parties contesting the elections in Jammu and Kashmir are trying hard to woo voters in the Chenab Valley as the seats here could be the decisive factor in the formation of next government in the state.
The voters in Chenab Valley too are getting a chance to listen and interact with many senior national and state level politicians who have been making a beeline to the area.
"The voters this time will make an educated choice as they were getting a chance to listen to the top leadership of all the major political parties contesting the elections here," said Manzoor Ahmed, another resident.
While President of Peoples Democratic Party Mehbooba Mufti and former J-K chief minister and her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had already held several rallies in the area, the BJP too has gone full throttle and pushed in its all top notch leaders to campaign for the party candidates in Chenab Valley.
While senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh would address several rallies in Kishtwar and Bhaderwah on Thursday and Friday, party President Amit Shah would hold a rally in Ramban tomorrow.
Seats in Chenab could be the decisive factor in the formation of next government
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a rally in Kishtwar on November 22, while Congress President Sonia Gandhi would address a rally in Banihal on November 21.
"You can well understand the importance of the Assembly constituencies of Chenab valley by the fact that this time it is on the must-visit list of VVIPs of the country. The voters are now mature enough to vote for a candidate who is ready to do something for us," said Balbir Singh.
The residents here have several demands, the major related to development of tourism.
"We have large number of educated youth here who are unemployed. Bringing this area on the country's tourism map would help revive our economy by opening various job avenues for the youth here," said Ankit Rana, a college student and a first time voter.