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PAGD forms Joint Committee to contest non-J&K voter inclusion in voter rolls

By: Yogesh

Jammu, Sep 10: People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) held a threadbare meeting in Jammu on Saturday decided to constitute a joint committee to take its fight against “inclusion of non-local voters in the voter list to its logical conclusion.”

As per news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the meeting was attended by all the five constituents of the PAGD – National Conference (NC), People Democratic Party (PDP), Communist Party of India (Marxist), and Awami National Conference – besides the Congress and several Jammu-based parties, including Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP) and Dogra Sadar Sabha-led by former minister Gulchain Singh Charak, Mission Statehood led by Sunil Dimple, Shiv Sena and Akali Dal.

For about two and a half hours, the representatives of various political parties expressed their opinion against giving the right to vote to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir from other states in the lawns of former Chief Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s residence in Bathindi, Jammu.

PAGD chairman and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah announced the decision on the formation of the committee after chairing the meeting.

“The main purpose was to discuss the issue of inclusion of non-locals in the voting list of Jammu and Kashmir. Charak Sahab (Gulchain Singh Charak) put forward a suggestion that a committee should be formed to take the fight against inclusion of non local voters to its logical end,” the former J&K chief minister told reporters, after the meeting.

He said the meeting later unanimously decided to form the committee which will chalk out a future strategy on the issue.

Dr Farooq said that all of them have strongly objected to the decision and intention of the election officer.

“The committee will also meet the Election Commission of India and Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir to further deliberate on the issue,” he said.

Commenting on the recently convened All Party meeting by Chief Electoral Officer J&K, the former chief minister said, “We don’t buy any assurance by CEO.”

“CEO first said that 25 Lakh non local voters would be included in voter list of JK but refuted the same in All Party Meeting. When confronted by colleagues and when shown their video clip in the meeting, the CEO couldn’t clarify,” he said.

Asserting that Union government lost its faith and people do not thrust them at all, Dr Farooq said, “We have no faith in the Central Government, Lieutenant Governor or the Returning Officer, even before August 5, 2019 the then Governor Satay Pal Malik assured that nothing would happen, but our identity and special status were snatched away in minutes”.

He said: “We do not buy assurances given by J&K’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). The Prime Minister had also said that he would reduce ‘Delhi ki doori’ and ‘Dil ki doori’, but nothing has been done so far,” Dr Farooq said.

Replying to a question, he said that the BJP wants to win elections here by “hook or crook”, and it wants to form a government here. “That’s why outside voters are being registered here but we won’t let this happen at any cost.”

The all-party meeting was convened following remarks by the Union Territory’s CEO, Hirdesh Kumar, on the addition of voters to the revised electoral rolls.

This is the second meeting of PAGD against the right to vote for citizens of other states in Jammu and Kashmir and the first in Jammu province.

PAGD Patron and President Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Vice President Mehbooba Mufti, Spokesperson and CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami were present.

All the mainstream political parties, social workers and business organizations operating in Jammu province were called in the meeting except BJP and its related parties.

Founder President of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan and former minister Chaudhary Lal Singh and General Secretary Hari Dutt Shishu, President of Dogra Sadar Sabha and Former minister Gulchain Singh Chadak, Shiv Sena Balasaheb Thackeray, Jammu and Kashmir chief Manish Sahni, state Congress chief Vikar Rasool and working president Raman Bhalla, besides Akali Dal representative and Jammu West Assembly Movement president Sunil Dimple, National Conference’s provincial president Rattna Lal Gupta.

Apart from Gupta, Khalid Najeeb Soharwardy, MP Hasnain Masoodi, PDP spokesperson Firdous Tak also attended the meet. —(KNO)

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