National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah has convened an all-party meeting in Srinagar on August 22 to discuss the issue of inclusion of outside voters in Jammu and Kashmir electoral rolls. The meeting will discuss the future course of action with regard to the Election Commission allowing outsiders to register as voters in the Union Territory.
“With regard to CEO’s announcement stating that non-locals will be added as voters in J&K, Dr Farooq Abdullah has convened an APM (all-party meeting) on August 22 (Monday) at his residence,” NC state spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said. Dar said Abdullah has spoken to the mainstream political parties in the Union Territory and invited them to join the meeting.
“The party president spoke to all mainstream parties, except the BJP,” the spokesman added. At a press conference on Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar said 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.
Meanwhile, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti accused the BJP of converting Jammu and Kashmir into a “laboratory for its experiments”.
Mufti said the move of the election authorities to allow outsiders residing ordinarily — for jobs, education or business — in Jammu and Kashmir as voters in the Union Territory was “aimed at finishing off the democracy” here. “This is the last nail in the coffin of democracy here. Earlier, they did half the rigging through the delimitation commission. The head (of the commission) has been duly rewarded. Democracy is being finished,” she said.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president said in some states, there are allegations of EVM manipulation while in others, the BJP is “using money power to topple elected governments to install its own”. “Their only alliance partner across the country in this is the ED. They want to have BJP government everywhere as their ultimate goal is to replace the national tricolour with a saffron flag,” she added.
Mufti said the BJP was resorting to demographic changes to tilt the electoral balance in its favour in Jammu and Kashmir as it has been “unable to defeat the resolve of the people”. “They have been ruling Jammu and Kashmir directly for three (four) years now but have been unable to defeat the resolve of the people to resist. Now they have resorted to allowing outsiders to register as voters in a bid to disenfranchise the people. But this demographic change will not only affect Muslims but Dogras and Kashmiri Pandits as well,” she said.
Mufti, a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, said the leadership will have to focus on the resolution of the Kashmir issue as it was “no more just about elections”. “We will have to focus on resolution of Kashmir issue as the BJP is using all the backdoor and short cuts. It is not about elections any more, it has gone beyond the elections.
“These moves will only radicalise the Kashmiri youth… more and more youth are picking up guns. Kashmiri Pandits who were living here for the past 32 years are now being targeted,” she said. Mufti accused the BJP of adopting the “policy of Nazi Germany and Israel here so that they can install a fascist” at the helm of affairs.
“But they should remember that Hitler was not able to eliminate Jews and Israel will not be able to finish of Palestinians. Same way they cannot do it here as well till the last Dogra and last Kashmiri is standing,” she said.
(With inputs from PTI)