Rajpora (JK), Dec 9: Heemu Jaan, a 21-year-old first-time voter in this assembly segment in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, does not know much about politics, but believes her vote can make a difference in the ongoing assembly elections and can initiate a change for a better future for the state. Like her relatives, neighbours and friends, Heemu came out to vote on this cold December day when the sun was playing hide and seek with clouds and the winter chill made people to stay indoors for most part of the morning.

The college going student, Heemu, with an excitement of a first-time voter, waited at home for hours to go out and vote but it was not until in the afternoon when the long queue at the polling station had lessened and the winter sun had shone brightly and her mother had finished the daily chores as well. “I am excited to vote and to see for myself how the (electronic) voting machine works. I had, till now, just heard about the machine and how people voted. It feels good to finally experience that today,” Heemu told PTI.

She said she does not know much about politics and the parties here, but “believes” her vote can make a difference and could help in the betterment of the state. “I have no interest in politics and I do not know much about it. But I believe that a single vote can make a change. And if we need to change something, we have initiate a change,” she said. Heemu said the constituency was lagging behind in terms of development and the people needed to elect someone who could help in making their future better. “We need so many things here. There is no development.

We do not get electricity for hours together in a day. Water supply is pathetic. Sometimes we do not get water for a whole day or two and we have to get water from the nallahs. We need a MLA who can truly represent us and help this area to develop so that we get better facilities,” she said.
Heemu’s friend and classmate, Shaheena Bano (21), also said a vote had a power to mitigate the sufferings of the people, but candidly admitted that it was her father who influenced her decision to vote for a particular candidate.

“I do not know most of the candidates in fray, but my father told the family members to vote for a particular candidate saying after getting elected he could help the people of this area in many ways,” Shaheena said. By the time their turn to vote came, the sun was beginning to hide behind the hills and the evening chill had begun to set in, but there was still a long queue of electors, especially women, waiting to exercise their right to franchise.

The polling at the station had to be briefly halted as the EVM had developed some snag in the morning. The poll staff at the booth said it took an hour to restart the voting and the time had to be extended so that people waiting in the lawn could vote. Even as many young faces in this constituency, and in many others as well, cast their maiden vote by the time voting came to an end, the excitement of a first-time vote would remain with them for many days to come.