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Voting Rights To Non-Locals: J&K’s CEO Calls All-Party Meet On Monday

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By: Shabeer Ahmad | SRINAGAR
Updated: September 4, 2022 13:27
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Amid a raging row over voting rights to non-locals in Jammu & Kashmir, the Union Territory’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has invited all major political parties for a meeting with him over a special summary revision of electoral rolls on Monday.

Ahead of the unveiling of draft electoral rolls, J&K’s CEO Hirdesh Kumar has sent invitation letters to political parties for a meeting with him at Nirvanchan Bhavan, Jammu.

“All major parties, including the National Conference, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Peoples Conference, and Peoples Democratic Party have been invited by the CEO’s office for the meeting scheduled on Monday at 4pm,” officials said.

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Congress Committee president Vikar Rasool said that they will participate in the meeting. BJP’s general secretary (organization) Ashok Koul confirmed that they have been invited to the meeting.

This comes following the CEO’s remarks that J&K will get additional 20-25 lakh voters, including outsiders, after a special summary revision of voters.

While political parties have communicated that the meeting has been convened over a special summary revision of voters, sources said the CEO may also clear apprehensions and misgivings arising out following his recent press conference.

After the CEO’s press conference, the J&K administration dismissed reports of a likely addition of 2.5 million voters after the summary revision of electoral rolls and termed the controversy a “misrepresentation of facts by vested interests”.

The CEO’s statement faced a political backlash with NC president Farooq Abdullah chairing an all-party meeting over the issue. The political parties, which were part of the meeting, termed the voting rights to non-locals as “unacceptable” and said if the need arises, they will approach the court against the move.

Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone has also announced that he will go on a hunger strike if an attempt is made to change the electoral demography of J&K.

The Election Commission of India would unveil draft electoral rolls on September 15 and claims/ objections can be filed up to October 25. The final electoral roll would be published on November 25.

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