by: Sajid Raina

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SRINAGAR: The young voters in Kashmir, choosing democracy for the first time and expressing their faith in it, urged Lok Sabha candidates on Monday not to misuse their votes under any circumstances.

The fourth phase of voting for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections begins today in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency. People, including young voters, are participating in the polling for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370.

Speaking to Kashmir Life, Ishfaq Ahmad, a young voter from Kangan, said that he has cast his vote for the first time, considering the power of the vote to be greater than anything else.

“We are casting votes for the first time. But at the same time, the candidates we are choosing shouldn’t misuse our votes like what has happened in the past,” he said.

Shazia, a first-time voter and graduate student from Hazratbal, said that she has casted her vote early Monday morning.

She hopes that new leadership from Kashmir will focus on the betterment of society, which has suffered since the abrogation of Article 370.

“We need candidates who will represent our demands and grievances in Parliament. However, they must also respect our votes,” she said, citing the common complaint that candidates are only visible during election campaigns.

Despite these concerns, she acknowledges that voting is the only option to ensure their voices are heard in Parliament.

At Chadoora area of Budgam, a group of first-time voters from Budgam affirmed their dedication to democracy, prioritizing it above all else.

“We, the new generation, have endured enough hardships. We implore our elected representatives to authentically represent Kashmir and hold accountable those responsible for past harm,” they said.

The Srinagar seat comprises Srinagar, Ganderbal and Pulwama districts and parts of Budgam and Shopian districts. There are 17.48 lakh voters in the constituency.

People were seen lining up outside polling stations to exercise their franchise in several areas of the constituency.

Authorities have set up 2,135 polling stations across the five districts.

Special polling stations have been established for migrant voters of the Kashmir Division of the Union Territory — 21 in Jammu, four in Delhi and one in Udhampur district.

Voting is scheduled to end at 6 pm.

 

 

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