PAGD to hold second meet over voting rights to non-locals

Need to widen communication among stakeholders: Tarigami

CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami
CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami

JAMMU — People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) will hold its second meeting at the Jammu residence of the National Conference president and Lok Sabha member Dr Farooq Abdullah on Saturday in an attempt to garner the support of more political and social parties against the inclusion of non-locals in Jammu and Kashmir’s electoral roll.

Senior CPI (M) leader M Y Tarigami, who is also PAGD’s convener and a spokesperson told the news agency KNO that the agenda of the meeting is already in the public domain.

“There is no clarity on Chief Electoral Officer statement regarding 25 thousand new voters and right to ordinarily residence. “We will get first-hand information from party colleagues who recently attended the All Party Meeting in Jammu,” the spokesperson said.

“We believe that inclusion of non-locals in the electoral roll is not required as many states reserved rights for native only but it seems that government unnecessary trying to divide between non-locals and natives,” he said.

Tarigami said that the meeting will take place under the leadership of PAGD president Farooq Abdullah at his Jammu residence and almost everyone including former minister and president Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party Choudhary Lal Singh, Harsh Dev Singh of AAP, Balwant Mankotia group, Ghulam Nabi Azad’s fraction were invited in the meeting.

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Tarigami maintained that each and every section and political social group is invited except the BJP. “We did not invite BJP, because it is part of the system,” he said.

“All-party meeting is part of the ongoing consultations to come out with a joint strategy to stand united against any move to include outsiders in the electoral rolls in a bid to influence election results,” Tarigami said.

This will be the second time that the PAGD is holding its meeting on the issue. Earlier, the alliance had convened a similar meeting in Srinagar on August 22, which was attended by the Congress, Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal (Mann), besides all of its constituents.

PAGD, an amalgam of five political parties – NC, PDP, CPI(M), CPM and Awami National Conference is campaigning for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status within the Indian Constitution.

Farooq Abdullah's home hosting PAGD's meeting

The BJP has been critical of the PAGD and has accused the NC, Peoples Democratic Party and other parties of spreading propaganda to poison the minds of the people over the issue of inclusion of non-local voters in the revised electoral rolls.

The controversy erupted after Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar said the Union territory is likely to get around 25 lakh additional voters, including outsiders, after the special summary revision of electoral rolls, which are being held for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration, however, had issued a clarification, saying the reports were a misrepresentation of facts by vested interests and the increase in numbers will be due to the voters who would attain the age of 18 years by October 1, 2022.

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