PDP president Mehbooba Mufti Thursday hit out at the ruling government over the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer (CEO)’s statement on the revision of electoral rolls in the Union Territory. Stating that it was the “last nail in the coffin of electoral democracy of J&K”, Mufti said she has asked National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah to call a meeting of all parties and decide on the future course of action.
Hours after Mufti’s statement, the Jammu Kashmir National Conference stated that Abdullah has convened a meeting of all political parties at 11 am on Monday (August 22) to discuss the matter.
“Jammu and Kashmir has become a lab for the BJP and all of this is happening in the garb of integration,” Mufti said, while addressing a press conference.
On Wednesday, J&K CEO Hirdesh Kumar said around 25 lakh new voters are expected to be enrolled in the Union Territory, with those “ordinarily” residing in J&K and having achieved the age of 18 or above as on October 1 to be included. The special summary revision of electoral rolls is being held for the first time in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019, and ahead of the long-awaited elections in the Union Territory.
“The CEO’s statements on addition of voters yesterday are the last nail in the coffin of electoral democracy in J&K,” Mufti said. “Not just J&K, they are rigging mandates throughout the country. I have spoken to Farooq Saab since he’s our senior-most leader, and urged him to call an all-party meeting to decide future course of action,” the PDP chief added.
Other political parties in Kashmir have also reacted sharply to the news, accusing the BJP of tilting the balance in its favour.
Earlier, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had tweeted, “Is the BJP so insecure about support from genuine voters of J&K that it needs to import temporary voters to win seats?”
People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone called the move “dangerous” and “disastrous”. “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,” he tweeted, in a reference to the rigged elections that were one of the triggers for militancy in Kashmir.
The CEO said that the same as residents of J&K working in the armed and paramilitary forces and posted outside the UT could get themselves registered as service voters and avail postal ballot, those posted here from different parts of the country could also enlist themselves as voters.