The Kashmir Valley is witnessing a change, for the first time in the last three decades, as election campaign rallies are being held in areas which were once considered volatile and no-go zones. A regional political party held an election campaign at Srinagar's Jamia Masjid in the Nowhatta area of Downtown. The same area was once famous for stone pelting and election boycotts.

From Srinagar's Jamia Masjid to Lal Chowk's Ghanta Ghar, election campaign rallies are being held in every nook and corner of the Kashmir region. These are the same areas which used to be infamous for stone pelting and shutdowns. And with no election rallies around these areas, they also had minimal voter percentage too, but this time around, the situation seems to have taken a 180-degree turn. It seems that all previous voter turnout records would be broken by looking at the people's participation in the election rallies.

"The election atmosphere in the Kashmir Valley, the campaigning and people participation, and road shows are having a huge response. The atmosphere of normalcy across the region is an indicator that the poll percentage will be much higher than the poll percentage of the 2019 elections. The two phases that have happened in the Jammu region have also shown immense participation as they have also crossed the previous records. It's very likely that the poll percentage would be better this time. The two parliamentary seats that went to election were good. We have seen 50-60 per cent voting in North Kashmir, and we are expecting the same. Central Kashmir will cross the mark of 50 per cent for sure, and similarly south Kashmir will also see good voting as well. Rajouri, Poonch will also see a good response," said P K Pole, Chief Election Officer of Jammu and Kashmir.

The chief of APNI Party Altaf Bukhari held a roadshow from Dastgeer Sahib’s shrine in Khanyar to the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta in the downtown area of Srinagar on Monday. People and party workers attended this rally in huge numbers and it eventually culminated at the historic Jamia Masjid.

"People are very hopeful and are coming out of free will. They are hoping that it's the beginning of a new era in Jammu and Kashmir. If people were not supporting this change, would you have been able to come to Srinagar's downtown area to carry out a campaigning rally," said Altaf Bukhari, President, APNI Party.

The political parties are also carrying out rallies in districts like Shopian, Pulwama, and Kulgam, which were once considered hotbeds of terror.

The People's Democratic Party candidate from Srinagar constituency, Wahid Parra, also took out a political rally from South Kashmir's Pulwama district to Srinagar's famous Ghanta Ghar in Lal Chowk. He was accompanied by hundreds of his party workers, and the sloganeering by his party workers echoed across Lal Chowk's Ghanta Ghar area in Srinagar.

(With Agency Inputs)