Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Kashmir’s Voting Renaissance


After 30 Years, No Threats, Boycott Calls; Pure Excitement Visible in Valley

Ø Rhythmic Rallies Electrify Northern Kashmir

Suhail Khan

BARAMULLA, May 03: The upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Kashmir shall be marked by a vibrant political atmosphere, with no shadow of threat or boycott call looming over the region. Instead, a sense of enthusiasm and eagerness to vote is palpable among the electorate.

Dhols, drums, dances, and songs reverberate through the streets of northern region of Kashmir, creating a vibrant atmosphere as the Lok Sabha election campaigns are in full swing. The lively celebrations and enthusiastic rallies showcase the region’s democratic spirit, with people eagerly anticipating the opportunity to exercise their right to vote for their preferred candidates.

The political landscape is charged with energy, and the people’s enthusiasm for the electoral process is palpable, reflecting a free and smooth environment for campaigning.

In the Baramulla Parliamentary Constituency, a staggering 38 candidates have filed nomination papers, while 25 candidates have filed for the Srinagar Parliamentary seat.

This time, the political environment is quite different, with people from not only local mainstream parties showing their interest but also more and more new faces as independent candidates have filed nomination papers on both the Srinagar and Baramulla seats.

While the fight on Baramulla seems more interesting, with former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah competing against People’s Conference Chief Sajad Lone and PDP’s Fayaz Mir, the eyes are also on jailed leader Er. Rashid, who is also contesting on the seat.

The Kashmir Despatch team talked to various groups from different areas of the northern region regarding the ongoing campaigning and the overall support for the leaders.

It’s been a healthy competition since the dates were announced, and especially when the parties announced the names of the candidates, said Radu Tasa, a local political worker.

He said it’s going to be a war between the National Conference and the People’s Conference on the Baramulla seat.

Radu shared that keeping the National Conference’s own vote cadre will boost them; however, the support from different political parties to Sajad Lone will not be taken lightly.

Satar Ahmad, a 30-year worker of the National Conference, told Kashmir Despatch that a rally addressed by Omar Abdullah in Baramulla is a minor example of how people want change and move away from the BJP and Modi-led government.

He said Sajad Lone may be dreaming of becoming the winner, but it’s his misunderstanding because people now know enough about who’s who, who’s supporting whom, and who’s backed by whom.

An intellectual group, in a conversation with Kashmir Despatch, shared their thoughts and views regarding the Lok Sabha elections of the Baramulla seat. They said it’s a clear fight between the National Conference’s Omar Abdullah and the center, as the 37 independent candidates who filed nomination papers are actually against Omar Abdullah as vote-cutters and to support the BJP-backed Sajad Lone.

They believe that this time, the youth will decide the outcome, as the contest is getting healthier day by day in north Kashmir.

They believe that Omar Abdullah is a mature enough leader, at least different from his father, and he can definitely take people out of the sufferings they are facing, especially after the abrogation of Article 370.

They believe that the BJP will again fail with this trick by supporting Sajad Lone, as people before the elections have exposed this tactic.

The Returning Officer (RO) for the Baramulla parliamentary constituency, Minga Sherpa (IAS), taking to Kashmir Despatch highlighted the unique challenges faced by the constituency, including areas that are often cut off.

He said Special arrangements have been made to ensure the smooth conduct of polling, including the use of Indian Air Force helicopters to transport polling staff if necessary.

Regarding security arrangements, the RO said that collaboration with the Indian Army has been established to guarantee the safe passage of polling staff and to facilitate secure polling at locations beyond the security fence.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Pandurang K. Pole expressed optimism that voter turnout will be good this time and urged people to exercise their democratic right and duty to vote. He assured that the election department is ensuring a smooth and peaceful electoral process throughout Jammu and Kashmir.

The CEO visited Baramulla and conducted a thorough inspection of the Counting Center and Strong Rooms designated for the Baramulla Parliamentary Constituency, ensuring seamless arrangements and strict adherence to electoral protocols to uphold the sanctity of the democratic process.

Suhail Khan
Suhail Khanhttps://www.kashmirdespatch.com

Suhail Khan is a filmmaker, content writer, and freelance journalist.


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