Jammu: In a significant development here on Wednesday, Hirdesh Kumar, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of J&K, said that any person living “ordinarily in the UT can get registered as a voter and cast vote in the forthcoming Assembly elections”.
Addressing a media conferences here on Wednesday, Kumar said, “After the abrogation of Article 370, there is no requirement to be a permanent resident of J&K to be registered as a voter.
“Anybody living ordinarily here for job, education, labour or business can register as a voter and cast vote in the Assembly elections.”
The CEO said that 25 lakh new voters are likely to be registered for the first time in the UT.
The decision has far-reaching consequences on the future of the local political parties.
Reacting to the development, Sajad Lone, President of Peoples Conference, tweeted, “This is dangerous. I don’t know what they want to achieve. 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.”
“Is the BJP so insecure about support from genuine voters of J&K that it needs to import temporary voters to win seats? None of these things will help the BJP when the people of J&K are given a chance to exercise their franchise,” said National Conference leader and former J&K Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah.
Another former CM and Peoples Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Muft tweeted: “GoI’s decision to defer polls in J&K preceded by egregious gerrymandering tilting the balance in BJP’s favour & now allowing non locals to vote is obviously to influence election results. Real aim is to continue ruling J&K with an iron fist to disempower locals.”