Jammu & Kashmir

Peoples Conference stays away from All-Party meeting, Apni Party says ‘satisfied with clarification’

Politicians arriving for All Party Meeting at Farooq Abdullah's residence in Srinagar on August 22, 2022.

Srinagar: Altaf Bukhari-led Apni party and Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference have stayed away from an All-Party meeting underway in Srinagar to discuss the issue of inclusion of non-locals in electoral rolls of Jammu and Kashmir.

As per reports, no Apni Party member joined the meeting chaired by NC president Dr Farooq Abdullah to discuss the issue of voting rights for non-locals.

“It is a futile exercise. Why should we attend the meeting? Our party is satisfied with the clarification issued by the administration,” a leader of the party, wishing not to be named, told Kashmir News Observer.

Earlier this morning, Peoples Conference (PC) Chairman, Sajad Gani Lone said that he will also not attend the All Party meeting.

Addressing a presser at his Srinagar residence, Lone said that he has been invited for the meeting today. “Politics apart, I have a lot of respect for Dr Farooq Abdullah. But the reality is that if the All Party meeting is taken seriously, the media would have no information about it,” he said, as per the news agency.

He further said that “how much we pretend that everything is alright. We have been abusing each other almost every day.”

“I believe the outcome of the government move with regard to the voters will not change whether we attend the all party meeting or not,” he said, adding that “in future if Dr Farooq needs us, we will be just a call away, but Mehbooba Mufti desperate to retrieve her ground, will ask for All Party meeting, the time of Maharaja Hari Singh has gone. If we have to do something serious, then it should be done without the gaze of the media. Doing anything under the gaze of the media loses its relevance and it means point scoring. I don’t want to be a point scorer. If something concrete comes out, then we will also support them. If they feel any unfavourable outcome on October 01, then they should also support us.”

Meanhwile, BJP has convened a meeting of its members in Jammu today to chalk out a “counter-strategy” against the meeting called by the National Conference over the issue of “inclusion of non-local voters” in the revised electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir.

JK BJP president Ravinder Raina has called the meeting of senior leaders at the party headquarters, PTI reported quoting the party spokesperson.

Quoting the spokesperson, the report said the meeting is being held to chalk out a “counter-strategy” against the “all- party” meeting called by National Conference president Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar over the issue of inclusion of non-local voters in the revised electoral rolls in the Union Territory.

The NC president had called the meeting after remarks related to the addition of voters in the revised rolls by the UT’s Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar raised hackles of the regional parties, the news agency report said.

Kumar had recently announced that the Union Territory was likely to get around 25 lakh additional voters, including outsiders, after the special summary revision of electoral rolls being held for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370.

Following the criticism the announcement garnered from across JK,  the administration said the reports of a likely addition of over 25 lakh voters after the summary revision of electoral rolls is a “misrepresentation of facts by vested interests”.

The Kashmiri migrants “will continue to be given the option of voting at their place of enrolment or through postal ballot or through specially set up polling stations at Jammu, Udhampur, Delhi, etc,” it said.

The BJP had defended the Chief Electoral Officer and said his remarks are “legally and constitutionally” correct.

BJP’s chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said under the law, anyone who is a citizen of India and not barred by any law can choose to be a voter in any area, State or Union Territory where he or she may ordinarily reside, the PTI report said.

“The same being made applicable to Jammu and Kashmir only. Post Art 370 there has to be one India one law,” he said, accusing the opposition of trying to project the “wrong picture”.

“They are trying somehow to create exceptions in Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory which is not permissible. People of Jammu and Kashmir have welcomed the decision (of August 5, 2019) without exception or reservation and political parties have to realise it and live with it,” Sethi said referring to the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.


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