The Kathua - Udhampur constituency that went for polls on Thursday consisted of a particular segment of voters who, though exercised their franchise, were very critical of earlier governments for not giving audience to their plight.
The repatriated spies from Pakistan and families of those still languishing in Pakistani jails went to cast their franchise on Thursday, most of them siblings of spies casting their vote for the first time.
“My father is languishing in Muzaffarbad Jail in Pakistan. Though my mother has lost all hopes to see him again, yet being a first-time voter, I have come to cast my franchise with a hope that the new government would listen to our grievances and bring my father home,” said Sudesh Bala, 22, daughter of Om Prakash of Budhi in Kathua, who was caught in a spying espionage in Pakistan in 1988.
“I had abandoned the idea of voting this time, but my daughter pursued me to go for voting,” said Bishno Devi, 54, mother of Sudesh Bala, adding that since her husband’s arrest in Pakistan, she ran from pillar to post with a plea to ensure her husband’s release, but to no avail.
“I am given to understand that a new wave is taking over the country and would look into peoples’ problems and I conceded to my daughter’s appeal to vote,” said Bishno Devi.
She disclosed that letters she received from her husband mentioned Pakistani agencies force conversion for early repatriation with an allurement that they should undertake militant activities on this side. “My husband refused and is still holed up there,” said Bishno Devi.