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

| Updated: 13 May, 2024 3:18 pm IST

Srinagar: Kashmir has made history in 34 years post abrogation of Article 370, with voters in Pulwama today, showing faith in democracy by turning up in record numbers. Voting for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency is still underway, marking the first parliamentary election in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir post-nullification of Article 370.

It is a huge win for the district which suffered a terrorist attack in 2019.

Speaking to The New Indian, PDP Lok Sabha candidate for the Srinagar-Budgam constituency, Waheed Parra in the Arihal area of Pulwama said, “We are not fighting against any political party. We are conveying the message that the people of Kashmir believe in democracy.”

Waheed Parra, 34-year-old Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Srinagar-Budgam Lok Sabha seat, kicked off campaign in the once militancy-dominated pockets of Pulwama, where residents still prefer to stay indoors due to heightened security measures.

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Praising the voter turnout, he welcomed Pulwama’s significant turnout, with villages that have boycotted elections since 1987 participating in voting today. “It is a huge welcome move that should be celebrated”, he said.

While commenting on the electoral process, he said that people within the system are trying to subvert this process by boycotting, harassing, kidnapping, and abducting PDP workers.

Parra was nominated as a Peace Fellow at the Yale International Leadership Centre in 2023 but denied a passport, he spent 19 months in jail and was disallowed to take an oath when elected to the District Development Council (DDC). He was also denied permission to tend to his cancer-stricken father in a hospital outside J&K, with the authorities citing “security reasons”.

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When questioned about the voter’s choice in Pulwama, he elaborated that his only appeal to people is participation in this democratic process. “They should come out and participate. A massive turnout is very important for Kashmiris and Indian democracy.” He added.

 

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He will take on a strong candidate from the National Conference (NC) that has fielded former cabinet member and Shia cleric Aga Ruhullah from the seat. NC has a significant vote base in the constituency.

In the 2019 elections, the BJP won three seats, while the National Conference won the remaining three.

The PDP and NC, despite being allies in the opposition alliance INDIA bloc, have decided to go solo in the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

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