All Party Meet likely to be stormy; BJP gears up to counter NC, Cong propaganda

Parties may be briefed on Polling Stns, SSR exercise

Keep PS on 600-700 voters, not 1200-1300

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Sept 4: All Party Meeting (APM) called by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) here tomorrow afternoon is expected to be stormy with political parties including National Conference and Congress among others planning to raise the issue of inclusion of outside voters while the BJP is gearing up to put up strong counter saying Representation of People’s Act (RPA) was introduced when Jawahar Lal Nehru was Prime Minister of the country and Sheikh Abdullah was at the helm of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir.
The APM has been called at 4 pm tomorrow by CEO Hirdesh Kumar to brief political parties about progress on ongoing process of Special Summary Revision (SSR) in the UT which will conclude with publication of final electoral rolls on November 25.
Issues of electorates in the Polling Stations is also likely to surface in the meeting as some parties feel that the Polling Station should be based on 600-700 electorates and not 1200-1300 “which leads to the fear of rigging”.
The BJP has deputed five-member delegation to the CEO’s meeting including Sat Sharma, Devinder Manyal, Sunil Sethi, Ranbir Singh Pathania and Priya Sethi.
Pathania, a former MLA, told the Excelsior that they will strongly counter the propaganda of National Conference, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Congress etc on inclusion of outside voters, as this right was given to the people under Representation’s of People’s Act which was brought by Jawahar Lal Nehru in the Parliament.
“This Act has been implemented in Jammu and Kashmir after abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India on August 5, 2019,” Pathania said.
Though the Election Commission officials have already given enough clarifications on the issue, sources said National Conference and Congress are all set to raise the issue again at the All Party Meeting.
PCC (I) chief Vikar Rasool said since he was in New Delhi in connection with party’s ‘Hala Bol Rally’, the UT general secretary Yogesh Sawhney will lead the party delegation.
“Our concerns remain unchanged. Only domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir should have voting rights,” he added.
NC provincial president Rattan Lal Gupta, who will lead the party delegation along with Sheikh Bashir, said the party will seek clarifications from the CEO on definition of “ordinarily living citizens’ and ‘outsiders’. Further, he added, security personnel should cast votes in the election of their States.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Som Nath Majotra said only those who fall in the procedure should be enrolled as electorates while rest should be excluded.
“Everyone has right to know whereabouts of 25 lakh voters proposed to be included in the electoral list,” he added.
Majotra said Shashi Thapa, Pawan Kundal, Charanjit Bitta and Jagdish Verma are the other party leaders who will accompany him to the All Party Meeting.
Majotra said the Polling Stations should have maximum 600-700 voters and not 1200-1300 as it can lead to rigging.
Some other parties will also make the similar demand.
Apni Party delegation will be headed by Jammu province president of the party and former Minister Manjit Singh.
Singh said the CEO hasn’t released any agenda. However, he added, the Apni Party will raise series of issues in the meeting.
PDP leader Firdous Tak said their senior leaders won’t be able to go to the All Party Meeting as party’s Political Affairs Committee is meeting in Srinagar tomorrow but added that their delegation will definitely join the meet and keep its viewpoint.
Sources said the CEO is likely to brief the All Party Meeting about progress on rationalization of Polling Stations and other works of Special Summary Revision under progress in Jammu and Kashmir.
Some other political parties have also been invited to the meeting.