Lok Sabha Election 2024: First Lok Sabha Election in Kashmir after the Removal of Article 370; Tourists to Be Witnesses, Know the Preparations

Tulip Garden Srinagar Kashmir
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Srinagar, 1st April 2024: In the months of May and April, the Kashmir Valley blooms with tourists. Simultaneously, Lok Sabha elections will reach their peak here. Tourists from around the world will bear witness to the largest democracy in action. Voting will take place in May for all three seats related to Kashmir. Initially, voting will occur in the Anantnag-Rajouri region on May 7th, followed by voting in Baramulla-Kupwara on May 20th. Millions of tourists from across the country and around the world visiting here will witness firsthand the enthusiasm of the voters. What makes this election significant is that it occurs during the peak tourism season in Kashmir.

During such times, there is a massive influx of domestic and international tourists to tourist destinations across the valley. Despite the ongoing election season, there has been no decrease in advance bookings by tourists, even after the spread of the coronavirus. Voting for all three seats related to Kashmir will take place in May. In the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency, voting will be held on May 7th, in Srinagar-Ganderbal on May 13th, and for North Kashmir’s Baramulla-Kupwara seat, voting will occur on May 20th. Tourists visiting villages near the Line of Control in northern Kashmir or popular tourist destinations like Pahalgam in southern Kashmir will not only experience the electoral atmosphere of Kashmir but also witness the changing glimpses of Kashmir.

Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam, Mughal Gardens, Dal Lake, and other globally renowned tourist destinations are experiencing full bookings. According to an official from the tourism department, from April to May-June, the number of tourists is the highest in the valley because the weather here is more pleasant compared to other parts of the country.

Key Points:
1. The changing situation in the Kashmir Valley after the abrogation of Article 370.
2. Nearly 90,000 tourists visited the Tulip Garden in Srinagar within 10 days.
3. Approximately 1 million tourists took a ride on the Gondola in Gulmarg last year.
4. In 2023, Jammu and Kashmir received a total of 21.1 million tourists.

During times of terrorism, voters used to brave separatist strikes and warnings of election boycotts to reach polling stations for Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly elections in Kashmir. Since the abrogation of Article 370, the situation in the valley has completely changed. Youngsters are now joining the mainstream, abandoning guns and stones. An official from the tourism department revealed that in recent years, especially since the removal of Article 370 in 2019, there has been a record increase in the number of tourists visiting the valley.

The tourism sector was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. In 2023, Jammu and Kashmir welcomed 21.1 million tourists. In May-June 2023 alone, over 1.9 million tourists enjoyed the natural beauty of Kashmir. In the fiscal year 2023-24, over 1 million tourists took a ride on the Gondola in Gulmarg, setting a new record. The number of tourists visiting here has more than doubled. In the last 10 days, nearly 90,000 tourists have visited the newly opened Tulip Garden in Srinagar. This number is significant considering it is during the month of Ramadan, and the number of local tourists is relatively low.