New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Hirdesh Kumar has announced that non-locals, including employees, students, labourers or anyone from outside who is living in Jammu and Kashmir are allowed to vote in J&K elections and they can get their names registered in the voting list.
Political leaders in Kashmir have sharply reacted to the decision of allowing people ordinarily residing in Jammu and Kashmir even for purposes of work to cast vote in the next assembly election in the Union Territory, accusing the BJP of tilting the balance in its favour.
“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,” National Conference leader Omar Abdullah tweeted.
He was reacting to media reports which claimed that people who are ordinarily residing in Jammu and Kashmir — for work, business or education — can vote in the next assembly elections. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the real aim of the process was to disempower the 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,” Mufti said.
People’s Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone termed the move as “dangerous” and said it will be “disastrous”.
“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 r yet to come out of that. Don’t replay 1987. It will be as disastrous,” Lone tweeted.
There are allegations of mass rigging in the 1987 Jammu and Kashmir Assembly election that is believed to be one of the causes behind the rise of militancy in the erstwhile state in the 1980s.
(With PTI Inputs)