People "ordinarily" living in J&K could vote their: Election Officertext_fields
Srinagar: Chief Election Officer (CEO) in Jammu and Kashmir, Hirdesh Kumar, said on Wednesday that anyone "ordinarily" living in the region could enlist as a voter there per the provisions of the Representation of the Peoples Act.
However, the political parties in the region have voiced against the move, The Hindu reported.
CEO said that after the withdrawal of Article 370, many people who were not enrolled in the electoral roll earlier have become eligible to vote.
CEO said that individuals need not have a domicile certificate of J&K in possession to vote. Anyone from outside the region but living ordinarily there could enlist their name. Their documents will be scrutinised and will declare whether they are eligible, he said.
According to him, many residents of J&K are working in the armed forces and are posted outside the Union Territory. They will have to get themselves enrolled in the voters' list and avail the choice of postal ballot.
Likewise, those from different parts of the country posted here can enlist their name as voters if they are in a peace station, and Jammu is one.
Hindu reports that a large number of security personnel and migrant labourers work in J&K in job sectors like the hotel industry and manufacturing. A stretch of high skilled jobs in the valley was also handled by individuals from outside.
CEO further said that 25 lakh more voters are expected to enlist this time in the region. While the estimated 18-plus population in the region is 98 lakh, the last voters list enlisted only 76 lakh. He said that the final electoral roll would come out by November 25
Meanwhile, political parties in the region stand strongly against the decision to allow outsiders to enlist as voters here. Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone responded that the move was dangerous and much more than mischief. Democracy was a relic in the context of Kashmir. The Hindu quoted him, "Please remember 1987. We are yet to come out of that. Don't replay 1987. It will be as disastrous."
Former Chief Minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said that the BJP, who was insecure about the support of the genuine voters of the Union Territory, wanted to import voters to win there. He said that such moves wouldn't help the saffron party when J&K people were given a chance to vote.
The People's Democratic Party said that the new move is an extension of the tactical rigging BJP-led Centre initiated with the unconstitutional and illegal delimitation procedure in J&K, aiming to disempower the people in the region.
Mission Statehood Jammu Kashmir president Sunil Dimple said that the move is not acceptable. It is a big conspiracy to weaken their claim to restore Statehood of J&K, Permanent Residence Certificate, special status, and Article 370. The move will destroy their history, identity, culture and demography etc., Sunil Dimple said.