PAGD Initiates All Party Committee On Inclusion of Non-Locals In JK Voter List

SRINAGAR: After encountering controversy in its initial meeting in Jammu in 2020, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) met in Jammu and constituted a committee to thrash out a common strategy on the issue of inclusion of “non-locals” in Jammu and Kashmir’s electoral rolls.

PAGD meeting in Jammu on September 10, 2022, was attended by various Jammu-based parties and the focus was the inclusion of non-locals in the Jammu Kashmir voter list

Apart from its Kashmir constituents, the meeting was attended by Congress, Shiv Sena, Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party, Mission Statehood Jammu Kashmir and Dogra Sadar Sabha.

Dr Abdulah announced the decision after the meeting was over at his Jammu residence. “The sole objective was to discuss threadbare the issue of inclusion of non-locals in Jammu and Kashmir’s voting,” Dr Abdullah said. “Charak sahab suggested that a committee should be formed which was unanimously accepted by the participants.”

Jammu and Kashmir’s five-time Chief Minister, who heads the PAGD said that though the meeting was attended by parties and individuals who have different agenda and ideology but the entire political class is unanimous in the fight for this right. He termed the idea of inclusion of non-locals as an “onslaught” on the people’s rights in Jammu and Kashmir. He said new laws are being “imposed” on Jammu and Kashmir on daily basis.

Prof Bhim Singh National Panthers Party supremo accompanied by party colleague Anita Thakur interacting with the members of the PAfGD in Jammu on Saturday November 7.2020

Choudhary Lal Singh, who put in papers in BJP and launched his own party said he accepted the PAGD invitation in the “larger interest of the people”.

Though the Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Electoral Officer tried to clear the air on the statement he had made earlier, the issue continues to dominate the political class deliberations. CEO Hardesh Kumar has stated that 25 lakh voters would be added and it would include the service voters and the non-locals living as ordinary citizens. As it triggered a serious issue of discussion and debate, the CEO tried to offer an explanation. The government said the summary revision of electoral rolls will only cover new voters who have attained the age of 18 years as of October 1, 2022, or earlier.

Apart from Dr Abdullah, who attended the PAGD meeting included Mehbooba Mufti, M Y Tarigami, Ashwani Kapoor, Muzaffar Shah, Vikar Rasool Wani, Raman Bhalla, Sunil Dimple, Gulchain Singh Charak and many others.

At the same time, however, there were many parties which did not attend the meeting despite being invited. These include Ghulam Nabi Azad, who recently quit Congress and is touring Jammu and Kashmir, Aam Admi Party (AAP), and Iik Jutt Jammu.

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