1800 migrants cast vote at 20 Special Polling booths

Migrant voters at a polling booth in Jammu after casting their vote on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
Migrant voters at a polling booth in Jammu after casting their vote on Monday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Only two votes polled in Delhi
Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Apr 29: As many as 1,818 migrant voters cast their votes in Kulgam district today at 20 Polling booths out of 26 Special Polling booths established for them by Election Commission of India in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi. No migrant had opted to cast the vote on rest six polling booths.
It may be recalled that Kulgam district is part of Anantnag Parliamentary constituency and to ensure smooth polling in the entire constituency, the ECI decided to conduct elections in three phases in the constituency comprising districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama. While elections in Anantnag district was held on April 23, the polling in Kulgam took place today and for remaining districts of Pulwama and Shopian it will be conducted on May 6.
Out of 26 Special Polling booths established for migrants outside Valley, polling was only held on 20 polling booths while on rest six booths no migrant voter had opted to cast the vote by filling up the M Forms.
In Jammu, out of 21 Special polling booths Polling was held on18 booths only, said ARO Migrants, Jammu Pankaj Anand. He said on two polling booths including Miran Sahib and Sarwal no migrant voters had opted to cast their vote while on one polling booth at Community Hall Jagti two migrants had given their consent to cast the vote but they were later shifted to adjacent polling booth in the area i.e Special Polling Booth in Middle School Jagti, he added.
Aanand said the highest number of votes were polled at Polling Station Chak Changarwan (Chinore) in Bantlab area where out of 425 migrants, 304 cast their vote. This was followed by polling Station Jagti A where out of 367 migrant voters, 239 cast their vote. He said the lowest number of votes was polled at Polling Station, Agriculture Complex Talab Tillo where out of 11 registered voters only five turn up to cast their vote.
Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner, Migrants, T K Bhat who also belongs to Kulgam district along with his other family members cast the vote at Special Polling Booth at Pouni Chak this morning.
At Special Polling booth at Udhampur, 32 migrants including 21 male and 11 female polled their vote out of 89 voters who had filled up their M Forms. This was stated by Dr Anirud Rai, Assistant Returning Officer Udhampur.
In Delhi, 2 votes were polled at Special Polling booth established at J K House 5 Prithvi Raj Road New Delhi, said Digvijay Gupta, ARO Migrants Delhi. He added that two migrants had only filled up their M Forms to cast the vote. They included one male and one female and both of them turned up to cast the vote. No voter had opted to cast their vote on rest three polling booths in the Union Capital.
It may be recalled that Kulgam district comprised of four Assembly segments including Kulgam, Noorabad, Homeshalibug and Devsar. All these four constituencies have about 8000 migrant voters, as per official records. Out of them, only 2860 migrants have filled up M Forms.
Meanwhile, the migrants today again accused the authorities and Government for its failure in simplifying the cumbersome procedure of filling of M Forms and Form 12 -C for casing the votes.
Some migrants who returned without casting their vote at different polling booths alleged that despite filling up of M Forms their names were missing in electoral rolls.
“At Polling booth Chinore the migrants alleged that the polling staff did not cooperate with them and an old lady who came on crutches along with his other family members to cast her vote was not allowed to do so, on the pretext that she did not have the Aadhar Card along with her,” said Rahul Koul a social activist.
He said when the other members of the family had their Aadhar cards in their hands and they identified her as their mother, the staff did not allow her to cast the vote with the result she had to return without exercising her franchise.
Koul and other migrants said that Government has unnecessarily made the election process lengthy and cumbersome for displaced Pandits to create an impression in the society that they are not casting the vote deliberately which is not a fact. He said since the first election held in 1996 after turmoil gripped the Valley they have been requesting the authorities to simplify the voting procedure for the displaced people but to no avail. They warned that in case this process continues, the migrants will be left with no option but to boycott future elections.