CEO Opens J&K For Every Citizen Of The Country, Ordinarily Staying In J&K For Voting

Regional parties call the move to disempower Kashmiris.

Voters standing in a queue outside polling booth in J&K (Representational image)

Chief Electoral Officer of J&K Hirdesh Kumar today said after abrogation of Article370 every citizen of the country staying ordinarily in J&K, for labour work, education, business purpose, can register as a voter in J&K and cast vote in the next assembly elections.

“Before abrogation of Article 370 a lot of people were not eligible to vote in the Assembly. But now their name will come into the voter list. That means a huge number of people will register themselves as voters,” Kumar said. “The rule for it is simple. Any person who wants to vote should be ordinarily staying in J&K like as a labourer, or for education purpose or foe business purpose. There is no need to be permanent resident to be voter in J&K. So huge number of such votes will add in the voter  list,” Kumar said.

Kumar said many residents of J&K working in armed, paramilitary forces and posted outside have an option to get registered as service voters. In the same manner, he added, those from different parts of the country posted in J&K have an option to enlist themselves as voters. He said anyone from outside posted in armed forces at peace stations like Jammu can avail of the option to enlist as a voter.

Kumar said he expects an increase of from 20 Lakh to 25 lakh voters after the completion of the special summary revision of the electoral rolls whose final announcement will be made on 25, November 2022. This exercise is happening after four years in J&K.

The regional parties have called the move to disempower people of J&K from voting. “This is dangerous. I don’t know what they want to achieve. This is much more than a 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,” People's Conference chairman Sajad Lone said.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah called it as an insecurity of the BJP. “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 said.

While Mehbooba described the move disempower local population. “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 said.

Hirdesh Kumar addressing a press conference at Nirvachan Bhawan in Jammu today said the Election Commission of India has further notified the schedule of Special Summary Revision with reference to October 1, 2022 as the qualifying date in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

According the schedule, Integrated Draft Electoral Roll would be published by all Electoral Registration Officers on September 15, 2022. Period between September 15 and October 25 has been earmarked for filing claims and objections and all disposals in this regard would be completed by November 10. Checking of health parameters and obtaining Commission’s permission for final publication, updating database and printing of supplements is to be done by November 19, 2022. The Final Electoral Roll would be published on November 25.