Not ready to accept inclusion of non-locals in J&K voter list: NC leader Farooq Abdullah

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Monday said the “inclusion of non-local voters” in the electoral rolls of Jammu and Kashmir was not acceptable to the parties here and that it would “end J&K’s identity.
Abdullah, who had called an “all-party” meeting to discuss the issue, said the decision would be contested by all means including by mounting a legal challenge to it.
The meeting convened by Abdullah at his residence in the high security Gupkar area was attended by PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Congress’ J&K unit president Vikar Rasool, CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami and Shiv Sena leaders.
However, the Sajad Lone led People’s Conference and Altaf Bukhari led Apni Party stayed away from the meeting.
The BJP also convened a meeting of its leaders in Jammu on Monday to chalk out a “counter-strategy” against the meeting called by the National Conference.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Abdullah said the government’s move will “end J&K’s identity”.
“The assembly will be in the hands of the outsiders and the people here will be denied it. We discussed the issue and have come to a decision that we do not accept it,” he said.
He said all parties, which participated in the meeting, were united against the move to provide voting right to outsiders.
“We are not ready to accept it,” he said.
Abdullah had called the meeting to discuss the issue of “inclusion of non-local voters” in the electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir after remarks related to the addition of voters in the revised rolls by the UT’s Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar raised hackles of the regional parties.
The government on Saturday last issued a clarification, saying the reports of a likely addition of over 25 lakh voters after the summary revision of electoral rolls is a “misrepresentation of facts by vested interests”.
Dissatisfied with the clarification issued by the Jammu and Kashmir administration on issues related to revised electoral rolls, the National Conference and PDP said they will hold a meeting to discuss the matter.
They claimed the administration has not addressed their main concern on whether ”outsiders” ordinarily residing in J&K will be allowed to enrol as voters.
Lone said the meeting seemed to be a point-scoring exercise and he would not want to be a part of it.
“One lady (Mehbooba Mufti) says call an all party meeting and the other makes (phone) calls for it. Also tell me, how much can we pretend? We abuse each other politically 24 hours a day. I have hurled abuses at them yesterday, they have done it day before. How long can we pretend that everything is hunky dory,” he told reporters.
“Mehbooba ji, desperate to retrieve her (lost) ground, issues diktat for calling all party meeting …. Maharaja Hari Singh’s era has long gone by,” he added.
Lone also said tjat his party will hold protests, including going on hunger strike, outside all constitutional institutions of the country if any non-locals were enrolled as voters in Jammu and Kashmir.
The mainstream political parties have alleged that the “inclusion of non-locals was a clear-cut ploy to disenfranchise the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.