STATE TIMES NEWS
Jammu: BJP leader and former legislator G L Raina on Tuesday said Kashmiri migrants were facing problems in exercising their franchise in the ongoing District Development Council (DDC) polls due to missing electoral rolls and alteration in names of constituencies, even as he welcomed the decision to allow the community to ‘vote in person’ and done away with Form-M’ process.
The State Election Commission (SEC) in Jammu and Kashmir had this time ordered the transfer of votes of Kashmiri migrants from their native constituencies in the Kashmir Valley to the polling stations set up for them in Jammu and Udhampur.
Earlier, Kashmiri migrants used to vote in transitory camps set up outside the Valley in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi. They were supposed to fill Form-M, get it verified and vetted by various officials before exercising their right to vote.
“We welcomed the decision of the state election commission and the MHA to dispense with the cumbersome poll process of Form-M and allow the community to vote in person,” Raina, who is a J-K BJP spokesperson, told reporters here.
He, however, deplored missing electoral rolls, alteration in names of constituencies to unfamiliar names and missing villages from where the displaced community hailed prior to their mass exodus in 1989-90.
“Enthusiasm to participate in the DDC election proved to be short-lived as voters continue to face several problems in exercising their right to vote,” Raina said.
“While we appreciate the facilities created by authorities in helping the elector to identify her or his name but the difficulty is in tracing the constituency that has been created and titled in a manner completely dissimilar to known and popular names, he added.
Similarly, villages from where the displaced community hailed have been omitted altogether and names of electors either are appended to a lesser-known village or deleted altogether, Raina added.
He said names of electors have been changes at some places as well.
“Non-availability of electoral rolls in English or Hindi is further problematic. Local administration at district and block level seems to have played a mischief,” he alleged.
Similarly, the percentage of votes polled to total number of eligible votes is calculated erroneously and the total number of ballot papers received by the Returning Officer Migrants is not the actual number of voters, Raina alleged.
Rajiv Pandita, BJP’s spokesperson for Kashmir, said number of eligible electors must be revealed constituency-wise in advance and publicised to let the voters know whether their names are enrolled or not.