Model polling station
Model polling station in border village of Kathua districtDIPR J&K
Model polling station in border village of Kathua districtDIPR J&K

Undeterred by threats from across the Pakistani side, enthusiasm was high among border dwellers of the Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir as people were over-enthusiastic to exercise their right to franchise on Friday.

The border belt of Kathua district-comprising 38 Panchayats, is part of the Udhampur-Doda constituency where polling is going to be held on Friday, the first phase of seven phased general elections. All the 38 Panchayats are situated on the International Border (IB)-comprising over 50,000 votes-a deciding factor on this seat.

"People are over enthusiastic to cast their votes as they are very much aware that they have to exercise their democratic right", Ramesh Kumar, a resident of the Sherpur Panchayat of Hiranagar area of Kathua told International Bussiness Times.

"Not only border dwellers, even large number of people who have been working in towns and outside the J&K have also returned to their native places on eve of polling day", he said.

In Londi Panchayat of Hiranagar tehsil, there are over 1600 voters, majority of them are not highly qualified but are aware of the prevailing situation in the country so they don't want to miss their voting rights.

The atmosphere is almost similar in Bhabiya Panchayat comprising over 2400 votes. This panchayat is situated just a stone-throwing distance from Pakistan.

"Anything can happen from across the border but we are over enthusiastic to enjoy the festival of democracy", Ramesh Chander, a resident of this dusty village said, adding, "During every election be it assembly, panchayat or Lok Sabha, people turned out in large number to cast their votes as fear of bullets failed to shatter our faith in democracy".

As per official data, about 45 'hypersensitive' polling stations are close to the International Border (IB).


Model polling station set up on Zero Line

In a pioneering effort to enhance public awareness and understanding of the voting process, District Election Office Kathua, under the leadership of District Election Officer (DEO), Dr. Rakesh Minhas, has unveiled a Model Polling Station near the zero line of the Indo-Pak International Border in Hiranagar.

Located just over 500 meters from the fence, the Government High School Kadyala has been transformed into a vibrant hub adorned with Tricolor Balloons, welcoming voters to experience a festival-like atmosphere. Ensuring accessibility and comfort, the station boasts Pink toilets for women voters, dedicated facilities for male voters, clean drinking water, and ramps for persons with disabilities, all meticulously arranged to enhance the voting experience.

The Model Polling Station also possesses a huge concentration of flower plants adding greenery to the entire landscape of the Polling station.

Electricity provision ensures proper lighting and fans, while the presence of police and CAPF personnel ensures the safety and security of all voters.

The Model Polling Station witnessed a series of mock polls, including scenarios for normal voting, all-female staff booths (Pink Booth scenario), and voters with disabilities. Local male, female, and PwD voters participated in the mock polls, providing a realistic depiction of the entire voting process.

The exercise aims to educate the local community about step-by-step procedures involved in casting their vote on the polling day. The video is being circulated throughout Kathua, empowering voters with the knowledge to navigate polling stations with confidence and clarity.

Commenting on the initiative, Dr. Rakesh Minhas, DEO Kathua emphasized the importance of voter education and engagement in fostering a robust democratic culture. He expressed confidence that Model Polling Station and educational video would contribute significantly to voter turnout and participation in upcoming elections.

  • Lal Singh's last-minute entry makes electoral battle interesting on Udhampur-Doda seat
  • Fearing defeat Ghulam Nabi Azad withdraws himself from electoral battlefield
  • Another selective killing in Kashmir, non-local civilian killed by terrorists; LG reacts
  • Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat of J&K to witness fierce BJP vs Congress contest