Ganderbal: Enthusiasm to take part in the democratic process by exercising their right to franchise transcended the age boundaries in this central Kashmir district on Tuesday as old and young alike, the many-time voters and the first-time ones, came out to vote.
As the voting started to pick up, it became clear that power of democracy had prevailed over boycott call sponsored by the separatists with many first-time voters saying that they were "thrilled" to participate in the exercise.
"This is the first time that I am voting and it feels good," Sumaiya, a 20-year-old voter in Saloora village of Ganderbal, said.
She said there was much enthusiasm in first-time voters like her. "I had heard about EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) but I had not seen them. Today I saw them for the first time and I was thrilled after I cast my vote," she said.
Sumaiya said they had come out to vote for "a change" and get their area "rid" of the politicians who had been "exploiting" them.
"The people of Ganderbal have been exploited by the politicians so far. We have come out to vote for a change. We want Ganderbal to get rid of the politicians who have done nothing so far for the people," she said.
At a model polling station in Lar, from where the two main candidates of NC and PDP in the fray belong, saw an almost centenarian, helped by his grandson coming out to vote.
"I have always come out to vote. One should vote to address the day-to-day issues," Haji Mohammad Ahsan told PTI.
Ahsan, who claimed to be 96-year-old, said there was no justification in boycotting the elections.
"Why should we boycott? There is no justification in that. We have to address our problems and a good candidate can. We want a good candidate to win and so I have voted for one," he said.