Signatories of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD)
File Photo | Members of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Wednesday held a meeting at the former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti’s Gupkar residence

SRINAGAR — Jammu & Kashmir’s regional political parties on Monday vociferously raised the issue of delay in holding Assembly elections in the Union Territory during the all-party meeting convened by the Election Commission of India to discuss the issue of remote voting rights to migrant workers.

While talking to the news agency KNO, PDP chief spokesman Suhail Bukhari said that he raised the issue of delay in holding Assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir during the meeting.

“I told them that it is ironic that the poll-body has called a meeting to discuss ways to increase the voter participation in polls, but people in Jammu & Kashmir are eagerly waiting for the past five years to exercise their voting rights,” he said.

He said the Chief Election Commissioner told the meeting that all technical processes have been completed in Jammu & Kashmir. “The CEC told us that exercises of delimitation and revision of voters have been completed,” he said, adding that CEC further said they are also concerned over the matter.

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In a statement, the National Conference said that its treasurer Shammi Oberoi, while speaking on the issue, said that when the government is concerned about facilitating domestic migrants to exercise their voting rights, the 1.4 crore people of Jammu and Kashmir continue to remain deprived of exercising their democratic rights.

Oberoi further added that J&K, which hasn’t seen elections for the last so many years, is suffering on many fronts. He raised the concern that the people of J&K are being kept away from exercising their democratic rights and choosing their own government which would have effectively addressed their day-to-day issues.

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In its response, the Chief Election Commissioner acknowledged the points raised by Oberoi and said that the ECI is also concerned about the Assembly elections in J&K.

“The CEC said that preparations for the polls are underway and that much groundwork has been covered in terms of delimitation of constituencies, electoral rolls revision and booth identification,” the National Conference said.

J&K has been without an elected government since June 19, 2018, when the BJP withdrew support to Mehbooba Mufti-led government. The last Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir was held in 2014. The delimitation process was completed in May 2022 while the summary revision exercise was completed on November 25.

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