25 lakh new voters likely to be enrolled in J&K as non-locals residing in state to get voting rights

As is the case in other parts of the country, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar on Wednesday said around 25 lakh new voters are expected to be enrolled in the Union Territory as the special summary revision of electoral rolls is being held for the first time after abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. He also described the ongoing exercise to complete the special summary revision of electoral rolls by November 25 as a “challenging task”.

Chief Electoral Officer of J&K Hirdesh Kumar said that after abrogation of Article 370 every citizen of the country staying ordinarily in J&K – for job, education, business purpose – can register as a voter here & cast vote in the next assembly elections.

The massive exercise to complete the process in time is going on to ensure that all the eligible voters including those who have attained the age of 18 years on October 1, 2022 or earlier are enrolled to provide an “error-free” final list, Kumar said. Adding that the Voter ID will be linked to AADHAR and new cards will be issued with many more security features, however furnishing of Aadhaar number is purely voluntary. Objective of the programme is to establish the identity of electors and authentication of entries in Electoral Roll, the CEO maintained.

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 Assembly elections, J&K Peoples Conference President Sajad Gani Lone today 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 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.”

Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti also reacted sharply to the statement on twitter. Omar Accused BJP of seeking backdoor entry into J&K by bringing in non-local voters.

“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 wrote on Twitter.

While Mehbooba Mufti wrote that “GOIs decision to defer polls in J&K preceded by egregious gerrymandering tilting the balance in BJPs favour and 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.”