Jammu: Residents for over one year can register as voters
The government has issued an order in the Jammu district of Jammu and Kashmir allowing people who have lived in the district for over one year to register as voters. The order issued by Deputy Commissioner Jammu Avani Lavasa empowered the Tehsildars to give residence certificates to those staying in Jammu for one year following field verification to help them in registering as voters.
Why does this story matter?
- The directive comes nearly two months after the decision to update the electoral roll was made for the first time following the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K and the delimitation process.
- To recall, the union territory has been without an elected administration since June 2018.
- Following the delimitation and new rules, officials set a goal of registering roughly 25 lakh additional voters.
What does the order say?
For the registration of new voters, an Aadhar card, passport, bank/post office passbook, Kisan Bahi account, rent agreement, house purchase paper, and water/electricity/gas connection will be accepted as the proof of residence, Deputy Commissioner Lavasa said in the order. The order also empowered Tehsildars to issue certificates of residence after necessary field verification to those residing in Jammu for more than a year.
Jammu DC's order copy shared on Twitter
Letter issued by Deputy Commissioner of Jammu for acceptance of documents for registration as electors authorizes all tehsildars to issue certificate of residence to people residing in Jammu "for more than one year." pic.twitter.com/V958ZAQilm— ANI (@ANI) October 12, 2022
'Revision done to benefit left out voters'
According to the Deputy Commissioner, the revision of voters is being done in Jammu and this order has been issued to ensure that no eligible voter is deprived of registration.
J&K National Conference reacted sharply, termed it BJP's conspiracy
Soon after this order was issued, political reactions started coming in. "The Government is going ahead with its plan to add 25 lakh, non-local voters, in J&K and we continue to oppose this move," tweeted J&K National Conference. "BJP is scared of the elections & knows it will lose badly. People of J&K must defeat these conspiracies at the ballot box," it said.
Voting rights given to non-Kashmiris in August?
The controversy originally started in August when then-chief electoral officer Hirdesh Kumar stated that J&K is set to gain roughly 25 lakh extra voters, including outsiders, as a result of the special brief review of electoral rolls. The statement sparked debate and heated political reactions. However, the government later clarified that the updating of electoral rolls will encompass existing inhabitants of the UT.
First assembly elections to be held soon
J&K will likely hold assembly elections by the end of this year or early next year, reports said. It will be the first assembly election in the region following the repeal of Article 370 and its division into two Union Territories in 2019. The elections are significant because they will follow various reforms, including delimitation, which increased the number of assembly seats to 47.