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J&K: EC initiates electoral rolls revision as Assembly elections inch closer

Last Updated on June 30, 2022 at 7:00 pm

After a three-year hiatus, the Election Commission (EC) has started the process of updating the electoral records in Jammu and Kashmir. It is a sign that elections may be held in the Valley once delimitation exercise is over.

The Election Commission called for a special summary revision (SSR) of electoral rolls on Wednesday, with October 1, 2022 serving as the cut-off date in Jammu and Kashmir. On August 30, the pre-revision operations will come to a close. In light of this, the EC has mandated that the SSR of the electoral rolls be finished by the end of October, according to J&K Chief Electoral Officer Hirdesh Kumar. Earlier, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has announced that by the end of the year, Union Territory assembly elections could be held.

This is the first time since abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status that electoral rolls are being revised to accommodate new voters. Prior to the abrogation, the only people who could vote in Jammu and Kashmir were its permanent residents, or “state subjects”. It would allow the displaced Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) residents to apply for voting rights in the upcoming Assembly elections. They used to be able to participate in Assembly elections but not in parliamentary elections.

According to the order, newly eligible voters were unable to register themselves on the electoral roster because Jammu and Kashmir did not undertake an electoral roll revision for the previous three years. Considering which, electoral rolls have been ordered to be updated on the basis of newly delimited constituencies in order to include all newly eligible young electors.

The updated electoral rolls has to be published by October 31 in order to meet the deadline established by the EC. According to the letter by Election Commission ,claims and objections may be submitted within a month, up until September 30, following the release of integrated draft electoral rolls on September 1. By October 15, the claims would be resolved.

In the delimitation exercise concluded last month, the Delimitation Commission suggested seven more constituencies in the UT. Out of these seven, Jammu will be allotted six new constituencies while Kashmir will get one. This would bring the total number of seats from 83 to 90. Jammu’s seats will be increased from 37 to 43 while Kashmir Valley will have 47 rather than 46 seats. Many political parties have also raised criticism as Jammu division has got more seats in comparison to Kashmir.