Ten government officials including six security personnel kept waiting for 11 hours for two registered voters to exercise their franchise at the special polling booth for Kashmiri migrants set up in Shalimar Bagh here. While two out of the four registered voters at the polling booth cast their ballot for the Anantnag parliamentary constituency early in the morning, the other two did not show up.
“The polling booth remained open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Two couples were registered at the polling booth. One turned up around 9-30 in the morning. We waited for the other two voters till the official timing of close,” said Assistant Returning Officer, S.K. Fotedar, adding that apart from six security personnel, one presiding officer and three polling agents were on duty at the polling booth.
S.L. Hangloo, a resident of Hangulgund village in Anantnag district, and his wife Seema Hangloo cast their vote in the morning. While Mr. Hangloo is posted as a joint director in the Capital, his wife flew in from Bangalore to exercise her franchise.
“I have been living outside the Valley for the past 23 years. I have been posted across the country in the past. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to vote this time as the facility was available in Delhi,” said Mr. Hangloo.
The Jammu & Kashmir Government had constituted four special polling booths – one each at Jammu & Kashmir Bhawan at Prithviraj Raod, Shalimar Bagh, Dilshad Garden and Najafgarh – for migrants from the Valley who want to participate in the electoral process in their home State. Election for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat is scheduled for April 27, while the Baramulla parliamentary constituency goes to poll on May 7.
Officials said registration began last month with advertisements posted in newspapers, apart from the regional news channels and radio. Those interested in getting registered were required to submit form-M with the details.