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SOURCE: ENS

In the chilling winter cold, Somia Sadaf spent days travelling home to home in villages of Drugmulla constituency of Kupwara, trying to convince people to vote for her. She was the first woman from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) to contest the DDC polls.

As Drugmulla went to polls in the fourth phase on December 7, the turnout kept Sadaf’s hopes alive. But as she anxiously awaited the results on Tuesday, the counting for the DDC seat was not allowed.

Reason: Sadaf, and her domicile.

On Tuesday, counting for the seat was stopped after the office of the State Election Commissioner wrote to the Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, asking him to stop the counting.

“…The State Election Commissioner has directed to defer counting of votes in Drugmulla till further orders in this regard. Ballot boxes and related election material shall be stored in a strong room…” stated the letter, signed by Secretary, State Election Commission.

The letter cited a complaint for “furnishing of wrong information” by Sadaf.

Asking why no one raised the issue when she had filed her nomination, and afterward, Sadaf said, “It was a surprise for me…. Nobody objected for over a month. Suddenly, when I was sure to win this seat, today they didn’t allow counting of votes.”

Sadaf said she is surprised but not sad: “Whatever happens, happens for the good.”

Counting was stopped on similar grounds at Hajin constituency of Bandipore, where a candidate, Pakistani wife of a militant who returned under the rehabilitation programme, was contesting.