J&K: Parties Form Committee Against Inclusion of non-locals in Revised Electoral Rolls
More than half a dozen political parties in Jammu and Kashmir formed a 14-member joint committee on Saturday to strategise against the inclusion of non-local voters in the revised electoral rolls, which the regional parties have opposed.
"Various parties across Jammu and Kashmir today set up a 14- member committee to chalk out a future strategy on the issue of any attempt of manipulation and inclusion of non-locals in the revised electoral rolls of J&K," the statement from the parties read.
The statement was issued by Communist Party Of India (Marxist) leader MY Tarigami, who is also the spokesperson for the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) - a grouping formed by several parties to advocate the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The development comes nearly two months after a major political row broke out when Hirdesh Kumar Singh, the chief electoral officer of J&K, said people who were “ordinarily residing in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will for the first time be able to register as voters and cast their vote”.
The political parties had then issued strong statements against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government for attempting to include non-locals or non-J&K residents into the new electoral rolls.
Tarigami said that the parties have worked together to form the committee to look into the issues and do whatever is necessary to safeguard the democratic rights of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
"There is no clarification from the Election Commission due to which people from both Jammu and Kashmir are apprehensive about the electoral rolls. There is concern that there should be no manipulation in the process or any attempt to make unnecessary inclusion of non locals," Tarigami told NewsClick.
The Election Commission is making a new electoral roll as per new constituencies reconstituted as an extension of the constitutional changes ushered when the Central government abrogated Article 370 in August 2019.
The police parties in J&K, except for the BJP, have been raising the issue of the inclusion of non-locals in electoral rolls despite statements issued by the local administration stating that "vested interests" were "misrepresenting facts".
According to the statement, senior National Conference leader and Member Parliament from Anantnag constituency, Hasnain Masoodi, will be the convenor of the committee, which includes senior leaders from the Congress, Peoples Democratic Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI), Awami National Conference (ANC), Shiv Sena, and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM), among others.
The members include Raman Bala INC, Sheikh Ab Rehman, former MP Rattan Lal Gupta and Hasnain Masoodi from NC, Dr Mehboob Beg and AS Reen from the PDP, Gulchain Singh Charak of Dogra Sadar Sabha, Chowdhary Lal Singh from Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party, Manish Sawhney of Shiv Sena, Hari Singh from CPI(M), GM Mizrab from CPI, ANC's Muzaffar Ahmad Shah, ID Khujuria from Internationalist Democratic Party and Dr M Hussain from JKPM.
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