NC prez calls for all-party meet on Aug 22 to discuss non-local voter issue
Mufti, Bukhari react to CEO’s statement
Srinagar: National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah has convened an all-party meeting here on August 22 to formulate a common position on the issue of inclusion of outside voters in Jammu and Kashmir electoral rolls.
The meeting, scheduled to be held at 11 am on Monday at Abdullah’s residence in Gupkar area of the city here, 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 the 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 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.
“Dr Farooq Abdullah has invited leaders of all political parties for a meeting to discuss the recent announcement by the J&K govt regarding inclusion of non-locals in the voter lists. He personally spoke to the leaders & requested them to attend the meet at 11 AM on Mon, 22nd Aug,” the NC said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, the party in a statement said Abdullah has invited leaders of all major political parties, except the BJP, for the meeting at his Srinagar residence.
The statement said the NC president has personally spoken to PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president Waqar Rasool, JKPCC working president Raman Bhalla, CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Apni Party president Syed Altaf Bukhari, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone and leaders of the Aam Admi Party here.
Abdullah requested the leaders to attend the meeting to formulate a common position on the issue of the inclusion of non-local voters, the statement said.
Earlier, accusing the BJP of converting Jammu and Kashmir into a “laboratory for its experiments”, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday said she has asked NC president Farooq Abdullah to convene an all-party meeting over poll authorities allowing outsiders to register as voters in the Union Territory.
“I have requested Farooq Sahib, being the senior-most leader, to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the new developments for adopting a unified course of action to deal with it,” Mufti told reporters earlier.
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.
Mufti said the BJP has “converted Jammu and Kashmir into a laboratory” for its experiments which are then replicated across the country.
“Jammu and Kashmir has become a laboratory for the BJP. It conducts experiments here and replicates them all across the country. The BJP is rigging the elections across the country,” she alleged.
Mufti said she wanted to tell the nationalist people of India, who feel happy over disempowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, that everything that was being done is “unconstitutional”.
“I want to tell the nationalist parties of India, those who fought for the freedom of the country and not those who wrote apology letters to the British, that whatever is being done in Jammu and Kashmir is being done unconstitutionally. The BJP is telling you that they are doing all this for the Constitution and the country but they are doing it only for the BJP,” she added.
Apni Party chief Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Thursday sought clarification from the Centre on the inclusion of non-local voters in the electoral rolls of Jammu and Kashmir and said his party will not allow anyone to change the Union territory’s demography.
Bukhari said the chief electoral officer’s remarks have created confusion and uneasiness among the people.
“Two things come to our mind by such statements. One is whether it is an attempt to change our demography, and the other is how anyone can vote at two places. If someone lives outside, how can he vote here?” Bukhari told reporters.
He sought a clarification regarding this from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home minister Amit Shah.
“This confusion has created apprehensions among the people, perhaps for the first time after August 05, 2019 (when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status). It has created doubts that it is to change our demography.
“Our children who study in Maharashtra, Punjab or Bangaluru, I do not think they are given the right to vote there. So, how are they saying this? The Government of India should come clean on this…,” he said.