Jammu: Staying miles away from their homes for past few decades, over 27,000 Kashmiri Pandit migrants will be exercising their franchise at special polling stations outside Kashmir for the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency.
As many as 27,235 Pandits will be voting for Anantnag seat, which goes to polls on April 24 in third phase of polling in Jammu and Kashmir, according to J&K Election Department data.
As many as 13,01,142 voters will decide the fate of 12 candidates including PDP President and Leader of Opposition in J&K Assembly Mehbooba Mufti and sitting NC MP Dr Mehboob Beigh.
There 1615 polling station setup at 1119 locations and out of them 675 and 685 are hyper-sensitive and sensitive polling stations.
As per the figures, highest number of 17,304 KPs voters are registered for polling in Anantnag district followed by 4793 in Kulgam district, 3837 voters in Shopian district and 1301 voters in Pulawam district.
Similarly, the highest number of 3698 KPs voters are registered for polling in Anantnag Assembly segment and lowest 180 voters are registered in Pulwama Assembly segment out of 16 Assembly segments in Anantnag LS seat.
As per the notification of Election Commission of India (ECI) 18 special polling station has been setup for KP migrant voters in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi for voting.
While Jammu has the largest number of 13 polling station setup by EC for voting for KP voters, it is followed by 4 in Delhi and one in Udhampur.
KPs in Jammu allege that it was due to cumbersome process made by ECI that migrants have been denied of their voting rights, which are being sent from their respective Assembly segments to Jammu and Delhi.
“We have corrected names by filing the forms to Returning and Assistant Returning officers in Kashmir for exercising the right of franchise, but there was no response from them till now”, Avtar Krishen, a resident of Village Ashmuji (Kulgam district of Anantnag district) said today.
He was supported in his argument by Mohan Lal Bhat, who claimed EC has made it more problematic the due process of filing of forms to get votes from respective districts in Kashmir even when your names figures in electoral rolls and are even available on the website of EC.
“The process has not only denied us the right to vote but have discouraged the KPs from voting”, Bhat said.
As per ECI, Kashmiri migrant voters, who are residing at various relief camps in Delhi, Jammu, and Udhampur and who have opted to cast their votes in person through Electronic Voting Machines, should in person intimate details of the electors in their families to the assistant returning officers mentioned below in prescribed Form ‘M’, which is available free of cost at the office these Assistant Returning Officers.
All migrant voters other than those who opted to vote in person have the option to vote through postal ballot papers. They may apply for the postal ballot paper in the prescribed Form 12C available in the offices of the Assistant Returning Officers, an ECI notification said.
They are advised to send the application forms (Form 12 C) duly filled in, requesting for the Postal Ballot to the concerned Assistant Returning Officer at Jammu. To facilitate attestation of forms, sufficient number of gazetted officers will be available at these centres and will attest the same.
They can also drop their application forms, and later on, their marked postal ballot papers in the special letterboxes, which will also be available at offices of all the Assistant Returning Officers.