INDIA. Jammu And Kashmir: Political parties in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) have attacked the central government following the Election Commission’s announcement that people living temporarily in the Union Territory can also vote in the upcoming assembly elections.
Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government for over four years. Elections are due in 2023.
The special revision of electoral rolls will allow non-residents to register as voters in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time since 2019, when the Center revoked its special status under Article 370, amending the constitution to allow non-Kashmiris to vote and own land.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar told reporters that more than 20 million new voters are expected to be registered in the region ahead of the polls. This could increase the number of voters by more than a third, adding to the region’s existing 76 million voters.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti have appealed to all political parties to come together to fight the “Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) agenda”.
Mehbooba Mufti also said that she has spoken to NC Patron and Member of Parliament Dr Farooq Abdullah to decide on the future course of action. She called for an all-party meeting to discuss the issue of giving voting rights to non-residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
”More than 25 lac non-locals are mentioned in J&K electoral rolls. Which is the last nail in the coffin of electoral democracy. Jammu Kashmir has become an experimental laboratory for the BJP. I want to tell the nation that BJP is not doing anything in the interest of the nation, they are only doing what they aim to do. They subverted national interests. Rigging has now become an integral part of the BJP. They use money and power to do it,” said Mehbooba Mufti, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to the decision, Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said that the BJP was not sure of the support of the genuine voters of Jammu and Kashmir.
”Is the BJP so insecure about support from the genuine voters of J&K that it needs to import temporary voters to win seats? None of these things will help the BJP when the people of J&K get a chance to exercise their franchise,” said Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir on Twitter.