Long queues of voters Sunday morning in the border constituency of Vijaypur in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba district indicated not just a large voter turnout in the day ahead but also reflected these hardy souls' determination to participate in a democratic process.Nanga village is barely a kilometre from the international border. During frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan Rangers this year, this village bore the brunt of border shelling and gaping holes in walls of some homes stand testimony to this.Of the total 915 votes at one polling station in this village, 52 votes were cast during the first half an hour. Others waited in lines for their turn to exercise their franchise.Satpal Heer, 45, came out smiling after casting his vote at the Nanga polling station. "I have voted for somebody I believe will bring peace to our village and at the same time bring development to this much troubled village."
Harnam Kaur, 23, was casting her vote for the first time here after marrying a resident of an adjacent village two years ago. She opted to visit her parents' Nanga village, as she is a registered voter here."I have voted for peace on the borders and also peace in other places. I trust the party I have voted for would work to realise my dream of a happy married life where I live and also peace in my parents' village Nanga so that they don't have to live under fear of shells from across the border," she said. Karliana Kalan is another border village in the Vijaypur constituency. Here also the voters had queued up much before the polling began.
While almost every voter who spoke to reporters said they were voting for change, it was obvious the large number of voters turning up to cast votes actually wanted change in their lives. Also, in the neighbouring Samba, a reserved constituency, voters' queues were seen at almost all polling stations set up for Saturday's polls.Eighteen constituencies, two in Samba district of Jammu region and 16 in the three districts of Srinagar, Anantnag and Shopian in the Kashmir Valley, are voting in the fourth phase of the five-phased elections in Jammu and Kashmir Sunday.