close
close
Skip to content

Greater participation of migrant Pandit voters is likely in these LS polls after EC abolishes Form-M

The municipality of Jagti consists of 4,500 camp families and 1,000 non-camp families, housing approximately 30,000 people.  There are a total of 15,000 voters in this municipality.

The municipality of Jagti consists of 4,500 camp families and 1,000 non-camp families, housing approximately 30,000 people. There are a total of 15,000 voters in this municipality. Photo| Zahoor Punabi

NAGROTA (JAMMU): Kashmiri Pandit Ramesh Kumar Suri, 55, will vote in elections in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time since the migration of Pandits from the Valley in 1990, thanks to the Election Commission of India abolishing the form of elections. M for the migrants.

“We used to live near Court Road, Srinagar, and my family belonged to the Pandit families who migrated from Kashmir in 1990 after the eruption of the armed forces. We have been living in government quarters set up for migrant pandits in Jagti Township, Nagrota for over a decade. During these 34 years, I have never voted in any parliamentary or parliamentary election,” Suri told this newspaper.

He said it was a very cumbersome process to fill and follow up the Form-M.

“Despite filling the Form-M many times, I could not vote as my voter slip could not be generated.”

Migrant Pandit voters are mainly concentrated in Baramulla, Srinagar and Anantnag-Rajouri LS constituencies. These voters were previously required to fill a form requesting the transfer of their vote from Kashmir to a polling station in Jammu, Udhampur or Delhi.

“The process of filling the Form-M was complex and required specific documentation, proof of migration status and attestation by an official,” said Jagti Tenement Committee Jammu chairman Shadi Lal.

The Election Commission of India recently abolished these forms after repeated requests and pleas from the migrant pandits. Now Suri and many others like him can vote without any problems at the special polling stations that will be set up for the community in the transit camps.

Shadi Lal says this move by the ECI will be reflected in the rise of migrant pandits.

“The municipality of Jagti consists of 4,500 camp families and 1,000 non-camp families, housing approximately 30,000 people. There are around 15,000 voters in this municipality,” Lal said.

“The maximum number of votes will be recorded in these polls and we are hopeful that our vote will make a difference,” he added.

Ramesh Kumar Kar, a migrant Pandit who hails from Dragmulla, Kupwara and now lives in Jagti Municipality, said that this year, every migrant Pandit in the municipality has been given a voter pass and everyone is excited to vote.

“As a voter of Dragmulla, Kupwara, I have to decide the fate of the candidates contesting from Baramulla LS seat in north Kashmir. I will definitely cast my vote in favor of the candidate who I think will work for my community and for the people of North Kashmir and J&K,” he said.

As the polling date for the elections approaches, a number of participants will visit Pandit transit camps in Nagrota and other areas in Jammu to seek votes from the migrant Pandit community.

“Some participants visit the townships to look for votes and then we don’t see them again for five years. We hope that with greater community participation in the elections this time, this trend will change forever,” Kar said.

Ashok Dhar, chairman of Bootanagar migrant pandit camp in Jammu, said the EC has made voting easy for the community.

“The ease of voting process will see more Pandit voters exercise their right to vote this time. There will be maximum participation of the Pandit community in the polls,” he said. “This is a good sign for democracy.”