Leaders of various political parties at a meeting here on Saturday decided to put up a united front against the “inclusion of non-locals as voters’’ during the summary revision of electoral rolls.
The meeting was convened by National Conference president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah at his residence in Bhatindi here. The meeting that lasted for over two hours was attended, among others, by PDP president and former CM Mehbooba Mufti, CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, Awami National Conference president Muzaffar Shah, J&K Congress president Vikar Rasool Wani and working president Raman Bhalla, former minister and Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan chief Choudhary Lal Singh, Shiv Sena president Munish Sawhney, Dogra Sadar Sabha president Gulchain Singh Charak, Mission Statehood president Sunil Dimple, besides Des Raj Manhas and Ashwani Kapoor of the CPI.
The BJP was not invited to the all-party meet.
Mehbooba Mufti and M Y Tarigami were also present at the recent all-party meeting on the issue held in Srinagar, while leaders of J&K Apni Party, Aam Admi Party, IkkJutt Jammu, Dogra Front, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party stayed away.
Farooq said that the only agenda of Saturday’s meeting was to discuss the issue of inclusion of outsiders in the electoral rolls of Jammu and Kashmir. “All those present agreed to oppose the move,” he added.
Rasool told mediapersons that Congress has nothing to do with the PAGD, but it attended the meeting on the common agenda to oppose inclusion of outsiders as voters in the UT as “it was bound to destroy the identity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”. He, however, made it clear that the party was not opposed to inclusion of local domiciles or those who have been living in J&K for long as voters.
Lal Singh of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan, who demands creation of a separate Jammu state, too, opposed the inclusion of outsiders as voters in Jammu and Kashmir. The Election Commission should issue a clarification on the matter at the earliest, he said, adding, else “we will even take the matter to the Supreme Court”.
The UT government and the Chief Electoral Officer have already issued a clarification in the matter saying reports of a likely addition of over 25 lakh voters during summary revision of electoral rolls is a misrepresentation of facts by some vested interests. However, this has failed to set at rest the controversy.
The BJP has, however, slammed the NC, PDP and others for raking up the issue of “inclusion of non-local voters” and accused them of spreading propaganda to disturb the peace. It has said there was no issue of “locals or non-locals” as the Constitution gives the right to every citizen to vote after attaining the age of 18.