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EC to release J&K electoral rolls today, voters up to 74.5 lakh

LS by-elections to be held on revised lists

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Jan 13: The Election Commission will tomorrow release revised electoral rolls of Jammu and Kashmir bringing curtains down on about four month long exercise undertaken from first week of September for summary revision of the rolls. As per initial estimates, the total number of voters in the State could go up to 74.5 lakh.
“A total of three lakh voters have been updated during four month long summary revision of electoral rolls, which included inclusions and deletions,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Jammu and Kashmir, Shantmanu, who would release the electoral rolls here tomorrow afternoon, told the Excelsior.
He said there were 73.5 lakh voters in Jammu and Kashmir before the start of four-month long annual exercise of summary revision of electoral rolls.
“While the clear picture will emerge tomorrow, we have reports that three lakh voters have been `pured’ (updated), which included the new voters included in the list and dead and other non-existent electorates removed from the list,” Shantmanu said.
Taking into account the inclusions and deletions, the number of electorates in Jammu and Kashmir could go up to 74.5 lakh. Jammu and Kashmir has a population of around 1.25 crores.
The electoral rolls of Jammu and Ladakh regions have been finalized while the Election Commission today gave final touch to the electoral rolls of Kashmir division. With everything alright, the Election Commission would release the revised electoral rolls tomorrow afternoon after a high level meeting of the Commission, which has been called by the CEO and would be presided over by him.
According to sources, the same electoral rolls will be utilized by the Election Commission for holding by-election to two Lok Sabha seats of Anantnag and Srinagar, which were due to be held in April this year.
The Panchayat elections in the State will also be based on the same electoral rolls, sources said, adding that the Election Commission would segregate the Panchayat voters from the list after publication of electoral rolls. The Panchayat rolls would be used for conducting the elections, which were likely to be held by the end of March provided that law and order situation remains under control.
Sources said the by-election to two Lok Sabha constituencies of Srinagar and Anantnag could coincide with the Panchayat elections. However, a final decision on Panchayat elections would be taken by the Government in the start of February after conclusion of budget session of the Legislature.
The by-election to Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was scheduled to be held by the end of December but the Election Commission had deferred it after obtaining a report from the CEO. Initially, the State Government had requested postponement of the election but the Election Commission had decided to go by the report of the CEO. After an All Party Meeting and on spot assessment of the situation, the CEO too had ordered deferment of the election to Anantnag seat.
Anantnag Lok Sabha seat had been vacated by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti after her election as MLA from Anantnag Assembly seat in June last year. Later, PDP Member Parliament from Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, Tariq Hamid Karra had also resigned from the LS membership, thus, leading to vacation of the seat in November.
The Election Commission has now decided that by-election to both Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha seats would be conducted together in the month of April when the weather improves.

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