Jammu, February 8: The Government of India has decided to bring the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir at par with Delhi and Puducherry to grant voting rights to MLAs of the J&K Legislature in the election of President and Rajya Sabha seats.
The Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to introduce a bill in the Parliament in the current parliament session. Sources informed that it was compulsory as the erstwhile state of J&K was divided into two union territories. As Jammu and Kashmir was granted the Legislature, the bill will bring it at par with New Delhi and Puducherry.
” The passing of the bill means that MLAs of J&K will get voting rights in the election of President and Rajya Sabha seats.,” Official sources said. Those UTs who are without Legislatures have representation in Lok Sabha but not in Rajya Sabha and no say in the election of the President of India.
“The Union Home Minister will move the bill in the Parliament early next week to bring the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir at par with Delhi and Puducherry by virtue of which the MLAs of J&K will get right to vote in the election for the President of India as well as Rajya Sabha,” sources said.
However, four Rajya Sabha seats from Jammu and Kashmir will fall vacant this month with sitting members completing their term by February 15. The Rajya Sabha members from J&K include Leader of Opposition in RS Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress), Shamsher Singh Manhas (BJP), Fayyaz Ahmad Mir and Nazir Ahmad Laway (both PDP).Jammu and Kashmir will get its share of four Rajya Sabha seats only after the elected Assembly is in place in the Union Territory.
Meanwhile the Rajya Sabha will bid farewell to all four retiring members from Jammu and Kashmir on February 8. While Mir and Manhas will complete their term on February 10, Azad and Laway will retire on February 15.Three members-two from PDP and one BJP-were elected while Azad was the lone Opposition member to make it to the Rajya Sabha with the support of National Conference and some Independents.Congress and PDP will have no representation in the Parliament from Jammu and Kashmir with the retirement of Azad, Laway and Mir as these two parties have no Lok Sabha members from the Union Territory.(KNS)