PULWAMA — In a significant electoral moment, Kashmir witnessed its first major polls after the abrogation of Article 370, with hopeful residents expressing their aspirations for robust parliamentary representation.

Speaking to The Kashmir Pulse, citizens voiced optimism about electing deserving candidates who would echo their aspirations in the Parliament. Many first-time voters emphasized the importance of having a voice in the Parliament that resonates with their dreams and concerns.

Moreover, there’s a palpable desire among Kashmiris for the conduct of assembly elections by the Election Commission of India, enabling the establishment of a local government for addressing grassroots issues.

The Election Commission reported a voter turnout of approximately 36.58% in Srinagar, one of Kashmir’s three parliamentary constituencies, by 8 pm on May 13. This turnout is a notable increase compared to previous elections, marking a potential shift in the region’s political engagement.

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Srinagar, encompassing volatile areas of the city and surrounding districts, has historically struggled with low voter participation. However, Monday’s turnout of 36.58% is the highest recorded since 1996, signalling a significant shift in civic participation.

The Lok Sabha Elections 2024 mark a pivotal moment for Kashmir since the BJP-led government’s controversial decision to revoke Article 370 in August 2019, altering the region’s constitutional status and dividing it into Union Territories.

In this election, the absence of boycott calls is noteworthy, reflecting a renewed sense of political participation among Kashmiris. Srinagar, a bastion of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), has witnessed keen competition among candidates, including Aga Ruhullah of NC, Waheed-ur-Rehman Para of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Mohammad Ashraf Mir of the J&K Apni Party (AP) backed by J&K People’s Conference (PC).

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The 2024 general election signals a potential turning point in Kashmir’s electoral turf, offering residents an opportunity to shape their political future amidst evolving circumstances. With Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri set to vote in subsequent rounds, Kashmir’s political journey continues to unfold in the post-Article 370 era.

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