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Two DDC polls declared void after women from PoK contest

Polling official ink mark of a voter at a polling station during the District Development Council elections. Photo used for representation purpose only.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

The State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday declared the polls of two District Development Council (DDC) seats as “null and void” after two women from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), married to locals from the Valley, contested the elections in December last year.

“The SEC in exercise of the powers conferred under Section 36 of Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 has declared the polling to the DDC constituency Drugmulla and Hajin (A) as void, cancelling the candidature of Soomia Sadaf and Shazia Aslam,” an SEC order reads.

The SEC has ordered a re-poll and redrawing of the list of contesting candidates, directing exclusion of Ms. Sadaf and Ms. Aslam.

An official said a complaint was received by the polling authorities ahead of the counting of votes schedule on December 22 last year against Ms. Sadaf and Ms. Aslam, who were contesting elections as independent candidates from Kupwara's Drugmulla and Bandipora's Hajin (A) seats.

“The complaint mentioned that both are residents of Muzaffarabad, PoK, and an illegal entrant into the country and therefore are not citizens of India,” officials said.

The SEC decided to stop counting of polls in both the constituencies following the complaints. The Electoral Registration Officer (ERO), in an order, directed deleting of both the names from the panchayat electoral rolls.

After deletion of the names from electoral rolls, officials from Kupwara and Bandipora sought further directions from Election Commission to which the latter responded by deferring the counting of votes, officials said.

Both PoK women were married to local Kashmiri men, who had crossed the Line of Control in 1990s and moved to PoK, from the Kashmir Valley’s Kupwara and Bandipora districts.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 3:10:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/two-ddc-polls-declared-void-after-women-from-pok-contest/article34007620.ece

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