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news details
Newlyweds queue up to cast votes
4/19/2024 11:21:50 PM
Early Times Report

Udhampur/Jammu, Apr 19: Several newly-wed couples turned up at polling stations in wedding attire to cast their votes in Udhampur constituency which went to polls in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections on Friday.
Accompanied by his friends dressed in traditional attires, a groom in sherwani and colourful headgear was among the first to cast his vote at a polling booth in Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur as the first phase of the Lok Sabha election began Friday. Kapil Gupta got married on Thursday and exercised his franchise in Udhampur town soon after returning home on Friday morning. "Voting is our right and must be done on priority," he said, requesting people to vote in large numbers.
Polling in the Udhampur constituency spread over five districts of Udhampur, Kathua, Ramban, Doda and Kishtwar, started at 7 am. An estimated 57.09 per cent of the 16.23 lakh electorate have exercised their franchise in the constituency till 3 pm.
Sahil and Radhika, a newly married couple, turned up at a polling station in wedding costumes.
"We got married only yesterday (Thursday) and I told my husband that we should vote. My vote is not here but I accompanied him," the bride said, adding that she would visit her parents later in the day and exercise her franchise at her parental village.
A polling booth set up at the government middle school in Parli Wand of Kathua district was witness to similar scenes. Aseem Mangotra and his wife Vaishali come to vote immediately after completing their wedding rituals.
"I have come directly from the wedding ceremony after completing the 'pheras' as I did not want to waste my vote. Registering your choice to elect your representatives only comes once in five years," Mangotra said. Echoing her husband's sentiments, Vishali said voting is a power in the hands of the common people and should not be wasted.
In Doda district's Bhaderwah town, the farewell ceremony of a bride was delayed so that she could cast her vote. "My fervent appeal to the people is to vote for the development of the nation," Vishal Shanky said after his wife Monica Sharma cast her vote.
Former MLA of Ramban and BJP leader Neelam Langeh, who got married two days ago, went to the Kundi polling station with his wife in wedding attire to cast his vote.
Despite the Election Commission providing the 'vote from home' for the elderly, 104-year-old Tirlok Singh, Kehar Singh, aged 102, and Zaitoona Begum (100) cast their votes at their polling stations in Udhampur, Kathua and Doda, respectively. Naseeb Singh (93) and his wife Shanti Devi (87) exercised their franchise in Udhampur and expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made by the authorities at the polling booths.
Returning Officer of Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency, Rakesh Minhas thanked the newly-wed couples and aged persons for turning up at their polling stations and said their enthusiasm would inspire the youths to exercise their franchise.
The rains failed to dampen spirits and voters were seen thronging polling stations, braving the inclement weather.
"It is my first vote on attaining the age of 18 and I was waiting for this moment," Vanshika Sharma, a resident of Bhaderwah in Doda district, said.
Meenakshi was the first to vote at the 'pink' polling station in the town and expressed satisfaction over the arrangements.
Mool Raj, another voter, was happy to be presented a bouquet for being the first to vote at a polling station in Bhaderwah.
"I have voted for a candidate I think can work for the development of the district and the country," Ashish Kumar said after casting his vote in Udhampur.
Voting is scheduled to end at 6 pm and will decide the fate of 12 candidates, including Union minister Jitendra Singh who is seeking re-election for his third consecutive term.
Singh faces a major challenge from Congress candidate and two-time former MP Choudhary Lal Singh, while the presence of DPAP candidate G M Saroori makes the contest a triangular one.
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