Jammu & Kashmir

Political parties anguished as non-locals get voting rights in JK assembly polls

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Voters stand in a line to cast their votes in Kulgam district of south Kashmir. [FPK File Photo]

Srinagar: Hours after the Chief Election Officer (CEO) announced the voting rights in the assembly polls to the non-locals in Jammu and Kashmir; the political leaders including the former chief ministers expressed resentment over the move and termed it ‘disastrous’.

National Conference (NC) Vice president and former chief minister of erstwhile JK state, Omar Abdullah said that such moves will not help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when the people of JK are given a chance to cast their ballots.

“Is the BJP so insecure about support from genuine voters of JK that it needs to import temporary voters to win seats? None of these things will help the BJP when the people of JK are given a chance to exercise their franchise,” Omar tweeted.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti said that such decisions are aimed to influence the election results, but the real aim is to continue ruling J&K with an iron fist to disempower locals.

“GOIs decision to defer polls in J&K preceded by egregious gerrymandering tilting the balance in BJPs favour & now allowing non locals to vote is obviously to influence election results. Real aim is to continue ruling J&K with an iron fist to disempower locals,” Mehbooba tweeted.

Peoples Conference (PC) Chairman, Sajad Gani Lone while reacting to the statement of the Chief Electoral Officer of JK that every citizen of the country staying in J&K can have voting rights in assembly elections, said that such a step would be a replay of 1987.

Taking to the micro-blogging platform Twitter, Sajad said, “This is dangerous. I don’t know what they want to achieve. This is much more than mischief. Democracy is a relic, especially in the context of Kashmir. Please remember 1987. We are yet to come out of that. Don’t replay 1987. It will be as disastrous.”

CPI (M) senior leader, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami said that what CEO has said amounts to disenfranchising the people of Jammu and Kashmir further. “The delimitation process through Re-organisation Act was an attempt to change the electoral demography of the region,” he said.

“In the absence of any representative government in J&K, the union government has been exercising undiluted control in the region through a bureaucratic structure since June 2018. Today’s statement of CEO is a brazen assault on the legitimate aspirations of the people,” Tarigami said.

Apni Party in a statement said that the presser of JK CEO has raised concerns about the disempowerment of the people of JK. Apni Party urged the Government of India to come clear on the matter as prima facie this is aimed at disempowerment the people further.

“While the party is studying the legal implications of this move, we urge the Government of India to take into account the aspirations and concerns of the people of J&K as it may have far-reaching ramifications,” Apni Party said.

“We hope that supremacy of Law is upheld and no illegal or arbitrary decision is taken. Apni Party will fight for the protection of the rights of the people and we won’t allow any unconstitutional move that is contrary to the aspirations of the people,” Apni Party said.


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