Long queues as Jammu votes

Jammu, April 10: Voting for the Jammu Lok Sabha seat started on a brisk note Thursday as enthusiastic voters queued up outside polling stations much before poll began at 7 a.m.

Bright sunshine and a clear sky greeted voters when they came out, many of them wearing traditional dresses to exercise their franchise in Jammu Lok Sabha seat.

Karalian polling station in Vijaypur voting segment of Jammu has 919 voters, including 459 females. In the first 15 minutes, 30 votes had been cast here as more than 200 voters lined up.

Most of the voters said they were voting against corruption, price rise and fulfilment of promises made, but not kept for ages.

The village has sizeable Sikh voters, many of them ex-servicemen who have served the country’s army and the air force.

Vijaypur, which is about seven km from the International Border, has 104,693 voters and 127 polling stations have been set up.

Residents of Karalian village say whenever there is a violation of bilateral ceasefire agreement by Pakistan, this village has to pay heavily.

“Our crops get destroyed, cattle are not fed and children have to bunk schools. We need a prime minister who can ensure that life goes on without fear of the enemy,” Nanak Chand, 45, told IANS.

At polling station number 20 set up inside a farm centre of the Sher-e-Kashmir University of agricultural sciences and technology Jammu (SKUAST-J) voters had lined up much before the gates of the polling station were thrown open.

Reports from almost all other places in the constituency said enthusiastic voters were lined up in disciplined queues to choose their representative for the 16th Lok Sabha.

There are 19 candidates in the fray here, but the main contest is between the BJP’s Jugal Kishore, the Congress candidate Madam Lal Sharma and Yash Pal Sharma of the regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The ruling National Conference (NC) which is fighting elections in alliance with the Congress supports Madan Lal Sharma who is seeking re-election for the third time from here.

Voting ends at 6 p.m.

(Sheikh Qayoom can be contacted sheikh.abdul@ians.in)

IANS