It is now amply clear that the Narendra Modi government is very keen and ready to involve Kashmiris in the democratic process after a three year long hiatus. Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent visit to Jammu and Kashmir has also given a fresh and an optimistic impetus for holding of assembly polls in the near future. The J & K administration too is gearing up for this mega exercise.
The special summary revision of electoral rolls has been started across the Union Territory with effect from September 15 for registration of new voters, deletion, correction, transposition of voters who have migrated or died since the last summary revision. This shows how serious the Modi government and J&K administration are with regards to the resumption of electoral process in Kashmir, now that the delimitation process has been completed.
Why The Dynastic Leaders Are Angry
What is pinching to the dynasty political parties of Kashmir is how smoothly the Modi government is able to nudge them to the sidelines, and at the same time carry on with the electoral process as per the wishes of the people. These so-called “three families” of Kashmir are no longer as politically relevant as they once used to be. So to be relevant they either manufacture an issue or give twists to non-existing ones only to extract a lame political mileage.
One such issue raked up by these political families is the inclusion of “non-locals” as voters. When Kashmir is an integral part of India, who is non-local then? When Article 370 is done and dusted and Jammu and Kashmir is like any other state or UT of India, then who is non-local? We are all Indians and so are all locals of this great country.
One fails to understand their viewpoint really. No one from Pakistan has been included in voter rolls here. So why this noise? If an Indian citizen living in any state or UT of India wants to make use of his/her franchise at the present place of domicile the Constitution allows the same. Then how come one becomes non-local in his own country. By raking up such emotive issues, these dynastic parties want only to fish in troubled waters.
Latest Outrage For Dynastic Politicians
What is the latest toast of these three families, who, anyway, have been relegated to the margins in the shifting political landscape in Jammu and Kashmir? It is an order issued by an authority in administrative officer in Jammu on October 12, authorizing tehsildars (revenue officials) to issue ‘certificates of residence’ to those residing in the Union Territory’s winter capital for more than one year to facilitate their entry in the ongoing special summary revision of electoral rolls. Anvy Lavasa , the District Election Officer, who is also Deputy Commissioner Jammu, passed the directive after taking note of “some eligible voters facing hardships in registration as voters for non-availability of required documents”. “…Keeping in view the urgency involved in the matter and to ensure that no eligible voter is left for registration during the Special Summary Revision, 2022 in district Jammu, all Tehsildars are authorised to issue certificate of residence after conducting necessary field verifications, to the person(s) residing in district Jammu for more than one year, for the purpose,” Lavasa said in her order.
These so-called “three families” of Kashmir are no longer as politically relevant as they once used to be. So to be relevant they either manufacture an issue or give twists to non-existing ones only to extract lame political mileage
Quoting the guidelines by the Election Commission of India for registration of eligible voters, Lavasa said it also provides that in case none of the mentioned documents is available, “field verification is a must”. “As for example, categories like homeless Indian citizens who are otherwise eligible to become electors but do not possess any documentary proof of ordinary residence, electoral registration officers shall designate an officer for field verification…,” the order read.
It stated that during review meetings taken with the field functionaries, including electoral registration officers and assistant electoral registration officers, it has been noticed that some eligible voters are facing hardships in registration as voters for the non-availability of documents.
No Rationale For Outrage
In August, Chief Electoral Officer J&K Hirdesh Kumar, had also made a similar statement. “After the abrogation of Article 370, many people who were not enlisted as voters in the erstwhile state of J&K are now eligible to vote and in addition anyone who is living ordinarily can also avail the opportunity to get enlisted as a voter in J&K in accordance with the provisions of representation of the Peoples Act.”
So when the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 allow a non-local to become a voter in J&K, how can anyone question that? Are these political dynasts above the Constitution of India? No way. Their only aim is to keep flagging a red herring and confuse people. They achieve two benefits out of this. One is to divert peoples’ attention from their misdeeds of the past, and second is to keep their little cadres is a false notion that these parties are actually speaking against the Modi government.
NC’s Ridiculous Stand
Otherwise, how can the National Conference justify its loose talk by saying that “BJP is scared of the elections” when Home Minister Amit Shah made it categorically clear that elections will be held when the process of revision of electoral rolls is complete. On The issue of revision of electoral rolls, NC tweeted: “The Government is going ahead with its plan to add 25 lakh non-local voters in J&K and we continue to oppose this move”.
This is simply ridiculous. Any person can get himself registered as a voter anywhere in the country. Many Kashmiris residing in Delhi or other states cast their vote there after getting properly registered. Only thing is a person can’t be a voter of two places subsequently. ECI and the J&K administration have a system of checks and balances to oversee such lapses and rectify them. Casting aspersion on the overall process is wrong. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti should read the rules clearly before she goes against the Election Commission’s order for registration of new voters in Jammu.
Writing On The Wall
PDP, NC and Congress should hear the message clearly given by Home Minister in his Baramulla rally that this strategically located region would not be allowed to go back to being the fiefdom of two or three dynastic families, nor be controlled by any one political party. The Home Minister’s appeal to the youth to be the engines of change, to create an environment conducive and appropriate for the restoration of statehood sooner than later is a step in the right direction.