Voter rights to non-locals; PAGD to discuss issue with stakeholders in Jammu now
DECCAN CHRONICLE | Yusuf Jameel
SRINAGAR: Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and other key players of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) are travelling to Jammu next month to muster support of the local political parties and leaders against the inclusion of "non-locals" in Jammu and Kashmir’s electoral roll.
PAGD which is a conglomerate of J&K’s mainstream regional parties, the prominent of these being the National Conference (NC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and their allies from the national Left parties was last week joined by the Congress, the Janata Dal (United), the Akali Dal and the Shiv Sena at a meeting held in Srinagar to raise serious concern over the inclusion of non-local voters in the Union Territory. They all took a vow to fight it out including challenging the move in the court.
J&K’s Election Commission of India (ECI), Hirdesh Kumar, had earlier announced that any Indian citizen ‘ordinarily’ residing in J&K even for purposes of work, business or education can after the change in domicile laws vote in its Assembly as well as Lok Sabha elections. The PADG unanimously resolved that giving voting rights to outsiders in J&K is not acceptable.
As was announced by Mr. Abdullah who is also the president of the PAGD a second meeting of the opposition parties to discuss the ECI move is being held in winter capital Jammu next month so that those from the region who could not attend its Srinagar meeting could also join to arrive at consensus on the vital issue. Mr. Abdullah had said, "This is a problem for the entire J&K state. All will have to be taken onboard." He had added, "We will also invite the leaders of all national parties to Srinagar or Jammu to place all the issues we in J&K are facing before them."
Senior CPI(M) leader and PAGD convenor and spokesman Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said on Monday that the proposed meeting will take place under the leadership of Mr. Abdullah at his Jammu residence on September 10.
He said, "The meeting to be held in Jammu will be in continuation to the ongoing consultations for coming out with a joint strategy to stand united against any move to include outsiders in the electoral rolls in a deliberate attempt to influence election results."