J&K Parties Raise Pitch For Polls In Election Commission Meet

KO File Photo: Abid Bhat

NC, PDP Say CEC Told Them They Are Also Concerned

Srinagar- Two major regional parties of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday raised the pitch for holding assembly polls in the Union Territory during the all-party meeting convened by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in New Delhi.

The ECI had invited representatives of eight recognised national and 57 regional political parties for the demonstration of a modified version of the M3 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that enables voting at polling stations outside the home constituencies of migrants.

The National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from J&K were also invited by the ECI in the meeting.
National Conference (NC) Treasurer Shammi Oberoi, who attended the ECI meet, told the poll panel that when the government is concerned about facilitating domestic migrants to exercise their voting rights, the 1.4 crore people of Jammu and Kashmir continue to remain deprived from exercising their democratic rights, a party spokesperson said.

Oberoi, he said, also maintained that J&K is suffering on many fronts because of elections not held over the last many years.

“He raised the concern that people of J&K are being kept away from exercising their democratic rights and choosing their own government which would have effectively addressed their day to day issues,” he added.

The Chief Election Commissioner, the NC spokesperson claimed, acknowledged the points raised by Oberoi and said that the ECI is also concerned about the Assembly elections in J&K.

“The CEC said that preparations for the polls are underway and that much groundwork has been covered in terms of delimitation of constituencies, electoral rolls revision and booth identification,” he added.

Meanwhile, PDP chief spokesman, Suhail Bukhari also raised the issue of delay in holding assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir during the meeting.

“I told them that it is ironic that the poll-body has called a meeting to discuss ways to increase that the poll-body has called a meeting to discuss ways for increasing voter participation in polls, but people in Jammu & Kashmir are eagerly waiting for the past five years to exercise their voting rights,” Bukhari told a local news agency KNO.

The CEC, he said, told the meeting that all technical processes have been completed in Jammu & Kashmir.
“The CEC told us that exercises of delimitation and revision of voters have been completed,” Bukhari said, adding that CEC further said they are also concerned over the matter.

J&K has been without an elected government since June 19, 2018 when the BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti-led government. The last assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir was held in 2014. The delimitation process was completed in May 2022 while summary revision exercise was completed on November 25—(With agency inputs)

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