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J&K: Forces, Civilians Residing In UT Can Vote In Polls After Abrogation Of 370, Says CEO

The Chief Electoral Officer of J&K informed that the "Representation of People Act" has been fully implemented in the territory after abrogation of Article 370.

Image: Republic World/PTI

In an exclusive conversation with Republic TV, the Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir, Hirdesh Kumar, informed that security forces and civilians from any part of the country residing in the Union Territory can now cast vote in the Assembly elections of Jammu and Kashmir. Hirdesh Kumar informed that with the abrogation of Article 370, the "Representation of People Act" has been fully implemented in J&K.

Speaking to Republic TV, he said, "After the abrogation of Article 370, those who weren’t part of the voting list are now eligible to cast their votes in the Assembly elections." He further added, "The domicile will not act as a barrier for people to cast their vote in the Jammu and Kashmir elections."

However, he informed that the details of the voters will be verified by J&K 's Assistant Returning Officer. "All this is being done according to the Consitution as Article 370, that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been abrogated," the Chief Electoral Officer added. 

When will Assembly elections take place in J&K?

Despite repeated demands by political parties to conduct Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, the Election Commission on August 8 revised the date for publication of electoral rolls in the Union Territory to November 25.

Earlier in May this year, a three-member Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir signed the final order for restructuring Assembly seats in the Union Territory. As per the report, the Commission headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash suggested increasing the number of seats in both Jammu as well as Kashmir. Notably, the Delimitation Commission was constituted in March 2020. 

In Jammu, the addition of 6 new seats was recommended, taking the total number of seats up from 37 to 43. While the addition of one seat was recommended in Kashmir raising its total number of seats to 47.

Jammu and Kashmir has been without an elected government since June 2018, after BJP withdrew its support to Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party-led coalition government. One of the reasons the party cited for withdrawing its support was the “deteriorating security situation” in the erstwhile state. 

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