From Stones to Votes: Kashmir’s Youth Rewrite Their Destiny at the Ballot Box

Bla records 56.02% young voter turnout, Sgr, Anantnag-Rajouri witness 48.57%, 54.41% respectively

Srinagar, May 27:  In a remarkable departure from the past, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed its highest voter turnout in 35 years during the recently concluded 18th Lok Sabha elections. Driving this surge at the ballot boxes were the region’s youngsters, with the 18-29 age group emerging as a dominant force across all five parliamentary constituencies in the Union Territory.Official data released by the government reveals a massive youth participation that bucked long-standing trends of poll boycotts in J&K. In the Baramulla constituency, a staggering 56.02% of those aged between 18-39 years exercised their franchise on May 20, far outstripping the 30.85% turnout among 40-59 year old voters and the 13.13% participation from the 60-plus age bracket.

In the other constituencies, the youngsters have a major share to put the graph of the voter turnout up in this election. Srinagar has recorded 48.57 per cent votes from the people falling in the age group of 18-39 years while 34.87 per cent were falling in the age group of 40-59 and 16.56 per cent in 60 years or above.
Similarly, Anantnag-Rajouri seat recorded a young voter turnout of 54.41 per cent while the electorate falling in the age group of 40-59 and 60 years or above were 31.59 per cent and 14.00 per cent respectively.
Udhampur and Jammu seats also recorded a major share of young voters as 53.57     per cent and 47.66 per cent people falling in the age group of 18-39 years voted in the twin constituencies respectively.
Pertinently, the youngsters from Jammu & Kashmir, especially from the Valley used to boycott elections, but this time, the youth claimed that they are no longer willing to boycott and are focused and keen to cast their ballots for their bright future.
The youth cast their ballots for change, development, end to unemployment, better education and other issues. The major issue for the youngsters was to ensure that their history of stone pelting is eradicated once for all while many turned up at the polling booths to get their near and dear ones released. 

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