Amid the Opposition’s criticism of inclusion of outside voters in Jammu and Kashmir electoral rolls, the central government on Thursday clarified that “Non Permanent Resident (NPR) voters” were allowed to vote even before the abrogation of Article 370.
“After abrogation of Art 370, Representation of People Act 1950 & 1951 is applicable. It allows ordinarily residing person to get registered in electoral rolls of UT of J&K, provided he/she gets the name deleted from electoral roll of his/her native constituency,” news agency ANI quoted government officials as saying.
“Even prior to abrogation of Art 370, those ordinarily residing in UT were eligible to get registered in electoral rolls. They were categorised as Non Permanent Resident (NPR) voters. During the last Parliamentary elections there were approx 32,000 NPR voters in J&K,” they added.
The clarification comes after regional parties objected to criticised Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar’s announcement that the Union territory is likely to get around 25 lakh additional voters, including outsiders, after the special summary revision of electoral rolls being held for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370.
National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah has convened an all-party meeting here on August 22 to formulate a common position on the issue.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said the move of the election authorities to allow outsiders residing ordinarily in Jammu and Kashmir for jobs, education or business to register as voters was the “last nail in the coffin of democracy here”.
The National Congress termed the inclusion of outside voters in Jammu and Kashmir electoral rolls as ‘clear-cut de-franchising’ of people of the erstwhile state, saying no outsiders should be allowed to vote just because they come here temporarily.
“Firstly, there is no clarity on what the chief electoral officer (CEO) has said. What is the criterion of an ordinarily living citizen? Can anyone, including tourists, register their vote here,” party’s chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq told reporters.
He said there are apprehensions among the people, and the government should clarify.
“The important point is that there are many states in the country where there are no elections yet. Those states can send their people here, register themselves as voters, then vote and then de-register themselves here, after which they will again register themselves in their own states.
“This is the apprehension in the minds of the people as there is no clarity… There is apprehension that all this is being done under a plan,” he said.