The special summary revision (SSR) exercise in J&K had run into a political controversy earlier this year amid speculations that opening of the voter list registration for assembly polls to ‘non-locals’ besides new voters would lead to a possible increase of 2.5 m voters in the UT, dramatically changing the J&K electoral composition.
The just concluded SSR, however, is learnt to have reported an increase of only 0.77 m electors.
The final number of J&K voters is now 8.36 m, including 4.29 m males, 4.07 m females and 184 third gender persons.
The SSR exercise closed on Friday and its completion is a key step towards holding of polls in J&K. The UT has been under President’s Rule since December 19, 2018. The last Assembly election in the erstwhile state was held in November 2014.
Increase in voters
The SSR has taken the J&K voters up by nearly 11 lakh over 2014. Usually, this figure is less than 0.2 m at a summary revision.
There were 7.58m voters in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls rolls with 3.9m males, 112 third gender and 3.6 m females.
The number was 7.31m in the 2014 Assembly polls in J&K.
The surge is mainly because J&K has not seen an voter list revision since 2019 LS polls.
The Assembly electoral roll has also not been revised since 2019 as the J&K Representation of the Peoples Act 1957 was no longer in effect. The latter had provided for annual revision of summary electoral rolls for J&K Assembly polls.
The increase mainly means that several persons eligible to vote by virtue of age have finally been able to register on the electoral roll.
A major highlight of the updated voter roll of J&K, however, is the female voter.
Gender ratio has increased by 27 points to 948.
The SSR controversy
There was a political furore earlier this year when the chief electoral officer indicated a possible increase of 2.5 m voters as ‘non-locals’ who could not register themselves as voters earlier in J&K would be able to do so, following the abrogation of Article 370.
The J&K Representation of Peoples Act, 1957 and the state constitution designated ‘permanent residents’ as those largely eligible to be on the electoral roll of the state.
Non-permanent residents-who may be ‘ordinarily residing’ in UT- were eligible to get registered in electoral rolls only for parliamentary polls.
The J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 changed all that as the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, which governs conduct of polls and electoral rolls across the country, came to be applicable in J&K. The move drew sharp political reactions amid roll revision.