Implementation of central laws post Article 370 abrogation in 2019 may not have witnessed hue and cry for least impact on the people, but the apprehensions of demographic change over the voting rights to non-locals, announced by the Election Commission (EC) has brought anguish among the masses here, bringing the political parties together once again to oppose the move tooth and nail.
The apprehensions grew soon after the Chief Election Officer (CEO) Jammu and Kashmir addressed a presser and announced the voting rights to ordinary residents of the Union Territory—including Students, employees and others. Although the government has made clarification in this regard, claiming the addition of new voters in the final voter list will cover existing residents of the Union Territory only, but there seems a lack of trust between the government and the political podiums in Jammu and Kashmir, which couldn’t help dousing the flames despite the assurances.
One among the political parties has openly made it clear that the law (Representation of The Peoples Act-1951) is not a threat to us but the intentions of the Government are a threat to us, which points towards the distrust between the government and political parties.
The people are in belief that ensuring voting rights to the non-local residents would play a spoilsport with regard to the demographic changes and is purely aimed at favoring a single party to emerge victorious in the next elections in Jammu and Kashmir. But, a fact remains that a voter if casts his ballot in J&K, has to remove his name from his constituency where he actually lives and certain procedures other than this have to be followed to become eligible for the voting in Jammu and Kashmir. Such a law exists everywhere in the country, but the half cleared and hurriedly called presser has failed to clear the things among the masses, which continue to grow apprehensions and thus brews anger within and outside the political podiums as well.
The time calls for a meticulous clarification in this regard from the top level so that the apprehensions of people in Jammu and Kashmir are put to an immediate end. Any further delay in making detailed statements would pave way for more anger among the masses in Jammu & Kashmir and even can play a role in wedging the gap between the government and the people on the ground—which needs to be prevented forthwith.