The BJP was misinterpreting the law in its desperation to import voters from other states to better its political prospects in Jammu and Kashmir, alleged senior AAP leader and former minister Harsh Dev Singh on Sunday. (August 28)
In the backdrop of a brewing controversy over the inclusion of non-locals in the revised electoral rolls in J&K, AAP leader Harsh Dev Singh, who is a lawyer by profession, accused the BJP of misinterpreting the Representation of Peoples Act (RPA) to justify the inclusion of non-local voters in Jammu and Kashmir.
The BJP, however, has said that under law anyone who is a citizen of India and not barred by any law can choose to be a voter in any area, state or Union Territory where he or she may ordinarily reside. According to the BJP, the RPA was implemented across the country in 1950 and was extended to J-K, after the abrogation of Article 370 (in August 2019), and that the revision of electoral rolls is taking place in accordance with the Act.
Also read: Congress all set to oppose inclusion of non-local voters in J&K’s electoral rolls
Dev Singh slammed the BJP for trying to create confusion over the issue encouraging outsiders in the J&K voters’ list. He affirmed that residents of other states and UTs cannot be enrolled as voters in J&K. The AAP leader argued that Sec-19 RPA Act does not say anywhere that a person can register himself as a voter outside his parent state or UT on the ground that he is ordinarily living in that place.
The BJP unit of J&K too has maintained that anyone who will be granted permission to vote in J&K has to remove his name from the previous place. And they asserted that they did not have any motives of demographic change behind the revision of the voter list.
Totally unacceptable: Opposition parties
Meanwhile, Opposition parties terming the move as “totally unacceptable”, have decided to oppose it. They feel J&K’s identity is facing a direct assault as Dogras, Kashmiris, Sikhs and other communities are in the danger of losing their identity. The fall-out of voting rights to non-J&K residents will be that tomorrow “Assembly will be in the hands of outsiders”.
The AICC in-charge J&K Rajini Patil too termed the move to allow non-locals to vote in J&K as illegal. The party will also join other Opposition parties to fight the issue legally and file a PIL.