SRINAGAR – As parliamentary elections loom in India, Muslims in India-controlled Kashmir are adamant to vote for changing faces of corrupt politicians in the district, though remaining divided on participation in the democratic process.
“We have been listening to the promises made by the government since long,” Sartaj Ahmad Bhat (Sarpanch), village head of Khahgund Area of Verinag in South Kashmir, told OnIslam.net.
“But this time, we will show the political leaders the power of vote and will prefer to choose representative among the common masses on the pattern of Aam Aadmi Party that brought change in the Indian capital Delhi.”
In less than eight weeks, India will be in the middle of an energetic election campaign that takes place over a number of weeks.
Going up dramatically by almost a hundred million since 2009, 815 million voters are eligible to vote to elect 543 lawmakers.
Over the past decades, respective governments, whether it is National Conference, Congress or Peoples Democratic Party, have failed on all fronts to even provide basic amenities to the people of the state particularly in south Kashmir.
Feb up with corrupt politicians, Sartaj Bhat added that the looming vote was the only chance for change.
He added that common man has now decided to vote against them in coming parliamentary and Assembly elections going to be held in 2014.
“Abstaining from poll process does not suffice the common needs of the people instead, by doing so, such individual is sporting the corrupt system,” he claimed.
“We will have to participate actively in the election process so that we can choose a representative of our own choice,” Bhat added.
After change in the Indian Capital Delhi, people in Kashmir seems to be enthusiastic to bring change in the system which they allege has deprived the poor people of the basic rights may it be the right to have basic amenity like power, roads, electricity or pure drinking water or employment.
On their part, youth of Kashmir have geared up their struggle on even social media against corrupt politics.
“What one can expect from a government where people have to spend their own money for repairing the electric transformers or pay commission for getting their works done,” Muneer Ahmad, a young boy from kokernag area of south Kashmir, told OnIslam.net.
“People are fed now and want to bring change by voting a common man to power.”
He added that if people in Delhi can bring change and throw out the traditional politicians why can’t people of Kashmir.
“This time people particularly youth have to come forward and vote against the traditional political parties,” he said.
“I am voting for the first time and will vote for change, I appeal all the youth community of Kashmir to vote so that, corrupt politics is uprooted from the society,” he added.
To Vote or Not To Vote
Many voters in Kashmir are likely to shun general elections, feeling discriminated against at the hands of recurrent politicians.
“I feel the only way-out to get out of the corrupt system is to bring change in the mind-set of the people and elect such a representative who belong to common man’s fraternity,” Mohd Sultan Ganai of Shopian district in south Kashmir told OnIslam.net.
“If at all we will take part in poll process we have to vote for the change and support Common Man’s movement as people of Delhi did.”
Shafiq Ahmad shared a similar opinion, adding that election in the year 1987 was the basic cause for eruption of turmoil in Kashmir.
“I think we should not vote as the elections in Kashmir are never free and fair,” he told OnIslam.net.
For Ashiq Majeed, elections are meaningless in Kashmir, as he feels every common man is deprived of his basic rights.
“What is fun of taking part in poll process when you don’t get any benefit from the government,” he told OnIslam.net, adding, “Kashmiri youth are demoralised as they don’t see any chance of getting employment or seats in professional colleges”.
“What one can expect from this government under whose rule, where question papers are sold in exchange of money,” he said.
“Even some of the politicians, bureaucrats and responsible officials were found involved in paper scam, but no action is taken against them except booking an official who has actually acted upon the directions of the politicians,” he claimed.
For other Kashmiris, such as Sayed Ahmad Sayed of central Kashmir, boycotting election was an indirect support to the corrupt politics in Kashmir.
“Sometimes I feel people who don’t vote are responsible for the corrupt system because the benefit of poll boycott directly goes to politicians and sometimes it looks that those who promote poll boycott are actually supporting the corrupt politicians” he told OnIslam.net
He said people must understand the importance of the vote and not to vote as their vote can actually bring change in the system.
“Kashmiris have to vote this time for change else they will face social and economic problems in future,” Showkat Ahmad Mir told OnIslam.net.
Trusted No More
As politicians geared up their election campaigns to garner voters, Kashmiris think that the only solution to bring change is by electing new faces from the common masses.
“Since elections are nearer and politicians have started to roll their political magic sticks to motivate the people for supporting their party but the time has gone now they cannot take advantage of their hallow slogans,” Ishrat Jan told OnIslam.net.
“I will vote for development and change this time in both election this year”.
She added that politicians who distribute money to gain voters will find this time a different attitude of people.
“People should be aware of their right to vote and same should be exercise fairly so that society gets a good representative who can at least redress their grievances of the public,” she added.
Political analysts believe that the Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man Party, will have impact in Kashmir, as Kashmiris are the most neglected lot.
“Even those supporting mainstream political parties want change as they too feel alienated at the hands of their respective leaders,” Gazi Mushtaq of Kupwara said.
Kashmir is divided into two parts and ruled by India and Pakistan, which have fought two of their three wars since the 1947 independence over the region.
Pakistan and the UN back the right of the Kashmir people for self-determination, an option opposed by New Delhi.
A two-decade insurgency in Kashmir, divided into two parts and ruled by India and Pakistan, has claimed 47,000 lives, according to official figures.
Separatist groups have long argued that taking part in elections in Kashmir was tantamount to accepting Indian sovereignty over the Himalayan region.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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