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Sewing machine to pressure cooker: Women join electoral fray to ‘bring about change’ in Kashmir

Srinagar:  From teachers to homemakers, several women in Kashmir are contesting as independents and are wooing voters with attention-grabbing poll symbols ranging from sewing machines to pressure cookers.

Private school teacher Naheela Tariq from Loontha, Karnah in Kupwara district, who is representing the Congress party, said a woman can represent the aspirations of the people in a better way.

 

“If a woman can look after her family, she can also look after the issues of her constituency. People here face several problems…I do not want to make tall claims, but I will try to address the day-to-day problems faced by the people,” said Naheela, who has been meeting a cross-section of people across Karnah to garner votes.

She said the Congress was the ‘only party’ that cared for the people living in far-flung areas.

“In our area, there is a lot of scope for sheep and animal husbandry. I will try my best to generate employment through the local resources available here,” she said.

Independent candidate Mobeena Bano from Tangdhar has been doing an active door-to-door campaign. Active on social media, she has been making speeches through a loudspeaker fitted on a Tata Sumo that passes through the hilly terrains of Tangdhar.

Mobeena said she decided to contest as an independent because the traditional parties had failed to live up to the expectations.

“I belong to an ordinary family. My father is a shopkeeper and nobody was ever associated with politics. However, I decided to fight elections as an independent candidate because mainstream parties have only given us false promises. They are only seen during elections and never come back,” she said.

The independent candidate is trying hard to convince people to dump traditional candidates and give newbies a chance.

“My priority will be to work for the public and work for development. I feel if I have power, I can work for people in a better way. I want to bring a change and want to tell the people to leave behind the traditional candidates,” she said.

Rifat Yusuf, wife of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) J&K vice president Sofi Yousuf, said her party believed that women can bring about the ‘change’.

“We believe that women can bring about change. That is why women in good numbers are contesting on the BJP ticket. We are confident of winning maximum seats in DDC polls. We are receiving a lot of support from people during the campaign,” Rifat, who is contesting from Srigufwara in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, said.