J&K panchayat polls: 30-year-old brings hope for change

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  1. ejazr

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    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    J&K panchayat polls: 30-year-old brings hope for change

    Srinagar: Jammu Kashmir panchayat polls are being conducted in the state after almost a decade. The Valley has seen an overwhelming 80 per cent turnout in last seven phases, clearly indicating that inhabitants here want to bring about the necessary change.

    And this was evident from the massive reception that was hosted for the newly-elected sarpanchs in north Kashmir, especially for 30-year-old Irshad Ahmad for whom it has been an incredible journey.

    Irshad's family lives in a one-room shack and is the poorest in the village.

    Now he represents a changing face of grassroots level democracy in Kashmir where panchayats have been largely dysfunctional in the past couple of decades.

    "People reposed their trust in me. Inshallah, I will try to come up to their expectations," said Irshad.

    The last panchayat polls in the Valley were held a decade ago, but it wasn't so effective given the overwhelming boycott.

    But this time around, people defied the despite boycott calls given by the hardline separatists. In the last 7 phases, the turnout was as high as 80 per cent, giving people hope.

    "He will take care of poor. Only a poor can understand the pain of another poor. Rich just cannot understand it," said Fahmeeda, a housewife.

    In a place where cynicism about the fairness of elections is common, the panchayat polls being held on a non-party basis have boosted public faith in democracy. There are no allegations of rigging or misuse of official machinery.

    "Our mission is to make change. Not only in this constituency, but also across the state," said Tariq Ahmad, a villager.

    Grassroots development aside, the biggest benefit of panchayat elections, many believe, is that it will rebuild the social structure that was severely damaged because of militancy. It is producing new generation leaders at village level, living besides the people they represent.


    A very encouraging video if you want to check it out here
    J&K panchayat polls: 30-year-old brings hope for change

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