Kashmir votes for change this time, highest since 30 years

Previously known for its history of terrorism, the city has witnessed a significant shift in voting patterns. During phase 4 of the elections, the voter turnout reached 37.98%.

| Updated: 15 May, 2024 8:20 pm IST

SRINAGAR: In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Srinagar, one of the three constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, experienced the highest voter turnout in 30 years. Previously known for its history of terrorism, the city has witnessed a significant shift in voting patterns. During phase 4 of the elections, the voter turnout reached 37.98%.

Notably, the last time Srinagar saw such high participation was in 1996, when it recorded a 40.94% turnout. Since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, the city, situated around the picturesque Dal Lake, has undergone various changes and faced law and order implications.

Voters in Srinagar have been vocal about their concerns during interactions with The New Indian Team. Ashik Ahmed, a 32-year-old adult, said, “The U.T. is running directly from Delhi. Our voice is not reaching Delhi.” When asked about the issues their generation is facing in Kashmir, Ashik replied, “The main problem here is that everyone is running after government jobs. There are not many government jobs here. There are no private sectors like Mohali, Chandigarh, Delhi, Bangalore, and Gurgaon have. That is why unemployment is more common here, and we have to work in such a way.”

READ MORE : KASHMIR VOTES TODAY: Mufti’s candidate Waheed Parra says Pulwama will set new trend

One of the Kashmiri Sikhs, on being interviewed by the Editor-in-Chief of TNI Aarti Tikoo, shared his thoughts about the change in the city after the abrogation of Article 370. He said, “Of course there is a big change. In the past, people avoided casting their vote out of fear. And now the atmosphere is quite peaceful and very nice, and everyone wants to cast their precious vote to build the nation. This is change.”

A dental surgeon running his own clinic in the valley has complained about the lack of opportunity and negligence of authority to create any in the region. Aasif, a 30-year-old cab driver with an MBA degree, said, “We need to vote for the sake of change. If you see, since 370 was nullified, no election has taken place since. I have not seen any projects or any opportunities for jobs; even unemployment is increasing.”

An auto driver reiterated that the biggest issue in the Valley is unemployment. After casting his vote, one of the electors said, “The only reason for voting is hope. A hope that Kashmiris have lost for 30–32 years. We came here to vote for that hope. After 30 years, we should think of a change. We are Kashmiris. We are with India.”

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