For many voters in the Lok Sabha polls for Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla constituency Thursday, this election was about choosing a candidate who can raise in Parliament the issues confronting the state, including the challenges to its special status.
Several voters at polling booths across the constituency said it was very important, and hence one of the main points in drawing them to the polling stations, that they choose a candidate wisely and vote for the one who can do justice with the people of Kashmir.
Mukhtar Ahmad, a voter in THE Handwara Assembly segment of the Baramulla Parliamentary constituency, said the Lok Sabha polls provided an opportunity to the people to send a representative of their choice to the Parliament which is a much bigger platform to highlight their issues.
"We need someone who can raise his voice and thereby our voice there. Someone who can talk about the issues we in Kashmir confront and do justice with the people. The Parliament is a much bigger platform than the assembly and if an issue is raised and highlighted there, the whole country will come to know about it," Ahmad said.
Abdul Rashid, a resident of the frontier Uri town, said the prospect of a first-time parliamentarian offered a fresh hope to the people of the frontier town.
"We have seen the parliamentarians before. We saw how they remained silent in Parliament. They were useless and did not raise our issues. We need someone who can talk about us vociferously," he said.
Rashid, without naming any candidate, said some of them were known to raise issues that matter to the people.
"We have seen them in action. Few of them are good speakers and talk about the issues of the people. Some of them have been in the assembly and have been vociferously raising our issues the issues that matter," he said.
Amidst legal challenge to Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution and the statements by BJP leaders in favour of their abrogation, Shahbaz Nabi, a resident of another frontier town Kupwara said the election was more about saving the state's special status and less about the developmental needs and hence electing a candidate who can safeguard such provisions became very important.
"You see, our special status is being attacked and the need of the hour is to save whatever remains of it now. So, it is very important that we elect such a candidate who can safeguard it and stand in the way of the BJP and RSS and defend it in the Parliament," Nabi said.
Nine candidates are in the fray in the constituency which include Muhammad Akbar Lone of National Conference, Farooq Ahmad Mir of Congress, Raja Aijaz Ali of People's Conference, Mohammad Maqbool War of BJP, Jahangir Khan of NPP, Abdul Qayoom Wani of PDP and independent candidates Javid Ahmad Qureshi, Syed Najeeb Shah Naqvi and Abdul Rashid Sheikh former MLA from north Kashmir's Langate constituency.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)