Queues and empty booths in Srinagar of contrasts

An empty booth in Srinagar Wednesday. Shuaib Masoodi An empty booth in Srinagar Wednesday. Shuaib Masoodi

From deserted polling booths to polling stations with long queues of people, it was a day of stark contrasts in the sprawling Srinagar constituency spread over the three districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal and Budgam.

Those who voted gave varying reasons; the others were responding to a boycott call. Until 10 am, when Farooq and Omar Abdullah voted at Burn Hall, only eight votes had been polled.

“I know separatists have called a poll boycott. But, if I had stayed away then the same old people would have represented us. I voted for change,” said Maqsood Ahmad Mir of Behama i, Ganderbal. Ghulam Nabi, a government employee, said, “I am voting to see my area develop. “

Five miles away, at Tulmulla, the polling station wore a deserted look. Out of 1,527 voters registered here, only five had voted by 12pm. “Nobody is going to vote. How can we forget the hanging of Afzal Guru ?” said Javid Ahmad.

At a polling station at Bogu, of the 1102 registered, only 12 people had cast their votes till afternoon. But at Lar and Kangan areas of Ganderbal, voters formed long queues.

“So far 1,050 have voted. By evening 1,500 out of 2000 will have voted,’’ said Farooq Ahmad, a government teacher.

In Bemina, by 2 pm 200 of 646 had cast their vote. “This is my first time and my vote is for change,’’ said Shamshad Dar, a student of class XII.