Allowing non-locals to vote in J&K will be disastrous: Kashmiri leaders

Published on Aug 18, 2022 03:19 AM IST

The top Kashmiri political leaders on Wednesday said that allowing non-locals to vote in the upcoming elections in J&K will be disastrous and will tilt the balance in favour of the BJP.

“Is the BJP so insecure about support from genuine voters of Jammu and Kashmir that it needs to import temporary voters to win seats? None of these things will help the BJP when the people of J&K are given a chance to exercise their franchise,” Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted. The top Kashmiri political leaders said allowing non-locals to vote in the upcoming elections in J&K will be disastrous. (HT File Photo)
“Is the BJP so insecure about support from genuine voters of Jammu and Kashmir that it needs to import temporary voters to win seats? None of these things will help the BJP when the people of J&K are given a chance to exercise their franchise,” Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted. The top Kashmiri political leaders said allowing non-locals to vote in the upcoming elections in J&K will be disastrous. (HT File Photo)
By, Srinagar

The top Kashmiri political leaders on Wednesday said that allowing non-locals to vote in the upcoming elections in J&K will be disastrous and will tilt the balance in favour of the BJP.

Former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah said that now BJP needs to import voters to win seats in the UT.

“Is the BJP so insecure about support from 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 are given a chance to exercise their franchise,” Omar tweeted.

Peoples Conference chairman and former minister Sajjad Lone said that allowing non-locals to vote in assembly elections will be as disastrous as 1987 rigging.

Reacting to the statement of the Chief Electoral Officer of J&K that every citizen of the country staying in J&K can have voting rights in the assembly elections, Lone said that such a step would be a replay of 1987.

Taking to microblogging 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.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti termed this decision as egregious gerrymandering to tilt the balance in the favour of the BJP.

“The 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. The real aim is to continue ruling J&K with an iron fist to disempower locals,” Mufti tweeted.

The BJP, however, welcomed the decision and termed it a great step by the Election Commission of India (ECI). “For giving voting rights in assembly polls to non-local labourers, or those who have come for studies, and those here for security purposes, this is a great step by the ECI. Unfortunately, regional parties are feeling the heat of the real democracy,” BJP state spokesman Altaf Thakur said.

Jammu J&K’s chief electoral officer Hirdesh Kumar during a press conference today said that non-locals working in Kashmir can vote in J&K, only they have to cancel votes in their native states. “After the abrogation of Article 370, many new voters can add their names in the list who are temporarily living in J&K and working here as labourers, students or people doing business here.”

After the fresh delimitation, the number of seats in the J&K legislative assembly has increased to 90. Fresh seven seats were added during the delimitation exercise, six in Jammu division and one in Kashmir division. The leaders of major political parties in J&K blamed the delimitation commission for helping the BJP. After the fresh delimitation exercise, the process for holding elections in the UT has begun and the final electoral rolls will be published on November 25.

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