Srinagar, Sep 6 (PTI) National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Monday urged the natives of Jammu and Kashmir to register themselves in the electoral rolls so the "powers" that intend to "import temporary voters to win seats" are defeated.
He said the first assembly elections in the Union territory will not just be about electing a government or forming a ministry but protecting Jammu and Kashmir's identity and dignity.
"Allowing non-locals to vote in Jammu and Kashmir will be disastrous. The powers that are pitted against NC are so insecure about the support from genuine voters that they have to import temporary voters to win seats," Abdullah said at a workers' convention in Shopian.
The Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar said such "nefarious designs" will not help if the people of the now Union territory get to exercise their franchise.
"It is for you to stop them No one else can. If you come out and register as voters and subsequently vote in huge numbers, there is nothing that can touch our unique identity. But if all of us chose to stay in our homes, there is nothing that can save us," he said.
On the elections, likely to be held next year, he said they were not just about electing a government, but, "It is about protecting our identity and dignity. We have to send such representatives to the legislature who would not trade-off people's dignity and honour."
Abdullah said there was no substitute for his party in protecting the regional pride and dignity.
"The National Conference has long been seen as a tell-tale symbol of the region's political and developmental aspirations. Our people, whether they are Kashmiris, Dogras, Gujjars and Paharis, remain deeply attached to their sense of history and to their identity. People's immense faith in our party is a reckoner of profound disillusionment of people with the policies of the ruling dispensation. The best way to resist such forces is through a democratic process," he said.
Meanwhile, intensifying its outreach programme, the NC held a workers' convention in Shopian, where top brass of the party, including Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah were present.
The convention comes a day after senior politician Ghulam Nabi Azad held his maiden rally in Jammu after quitting the Congress.
NC's chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said the workers' conventions had nothing to do with "new entrants" into local politics.
"We have been holding these conventions... Today, it was South Kashmir, next will be north and central Kashmir," Sadiq said.
The aim of these meetings is to strengthen the party at the grassroots and make people aware of our agenda, he added.
Asked if Azad floating his own political party had the NC top brass intensifying its outreach, Sadiq said everyone had the right to contest elections.
"However, we, at the National Conference, want the anti-BJP bloc to stay united," he pointed out.