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Azad among first to cast vote, confident of Congress win

india Updated: Dec 24, 2008 10:35 IST
Azad among first to cast vote

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was among the first 15 to cast his vote in the Jammu East constituency where polling began early on Sunday in the last phase of the state assembly elections. He said he was sure the Congress would come to power in the state.

After he cast his vote along with his wife Shamima Dev Azad, he said: "I am confident that the Congress will form the next government in Jammu and Kashmir on its own."

"We had left about eight seats for like minded groups and I think their support would be sufficient to form the government."

Azad said the 2008 elections were a landmark one as far as the high voter turnout was concerned.

"These elections in 2008 are historic in relation to the 1996 and 2002 ones in the way that people are no longer getting carried away by hollow slogans of separatists or those parties trying to create a divide. They have shown strong faith in the democratic set up, which is evident from the voter turnout."

Asked whether the Congress would depend on the National Conference or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in case they fell short of numbers to form the government, the Congress leader said: "None of these".

People had started trickling in to exercise their franchise despite the bitter cold in Jammu East constituency. At least 25 people had voted in the first 15 minutes.

The seat had been won by the Congress in the 2002 elections.