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Vote and Voice over Violence | Budgam’s young voters see ballot as tool for peace, prosperity

08:41 AM May 14, 2024 IST | SHABIR IBN YUSUF
vote and voice over violence   budgam’s young voters see ballot as tool for peace  prosperity
Photo: Mubashir Khan/ GK
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Srinagar, May 13

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While they see their vote as a tool to defeat violence in Kashmir, the first-time voters came out in significant numbers at various polling booths here in the Budgam district of central Kashmir on Monday to exercise their franchise for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.

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The first-time voters expressed their joy and pride in exercising their constitutional right to vote.

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They emphasised the importance of their vote and expressed hope that the elected leaders would respect their mandate.

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The overwhelming sentiment among these first-time voters in Budgam reflects a deep-seated desire for change and a belief in the democratic process.

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Their participation in the electoral process is a testament to their resilience and hope for a better future for Kashmir.

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“It feels great to be able to vote for the first time. This is our chance to contribute to the democratic process and bring about positive change in our society,” Nadia, a first-time voter who voted at a polling station at Chare-e-Sharif said. “We hope that the leaders we elect will work towards improving education infrastructure and creating more job opportunities for the youth.”

Another first-time voter at Khan Sahib polling station said that voting was not just a right but a responsibility too.

“We need leaders who understand our problems and can work towards ending unemployment and developing our area,” he said. “Our vote is our voice, and we want it to be heard.”

On the other hand, in a remarkable display of determination and hope, first-time voters said that voting was far better than violence.

“These young voters, who have grown up amidst the turmoil and unrest that has plagued Kashmir for the last three decades see their vote as a powerful tool to defeat the violence and usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in Kashmir,” said Muhammad Sulieman, a retired government employees at Khan Sahib.

Nadeem, a first-time voter from the same area, said that they had witnessed the damage caused by violence in Kashmir.

“It is time for us to choose a path of peace and progress. Our vote is our voice, and we want to use it to defeat the forces of violence,” he said. “The vote is our way of bringing about positive change in Kashmir. We want to build a brighter future for ourselves and future generations.”

Mir Sameer, another first-time voter in Charar-e-Sharif said casting his vote was a symbolic act of resistance against the violence of the past.

“As first-time voters, we are determined to use our vote to counter the violence that has plagued Kashmir. We want a peaceful and prosperous future,” he said.

“Our vote is a statement against the violence of the past. We believe in the power of democracy to transform Kashmir for the better,” said Zehra, another first-time voter. “Violence has only brought suffering to Kashmir. We voted to show that we choose peace and development over conflict.”

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