Jammu: With an ongoing delimitation exercise taking a centre-stage in Jammu and Kashmir’s frozen politics, the Delimitation Commission’s December 20 meeting with its five associate members from the Union Territory (UT) in New Delhi has assumed significance.
The Commission, headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, called the crucial meeting with five Lok Sabha members from J&K, who are associate members of the panel, to discuss and share with them the progress achieved on the delimitation of 90 Assembly constituencies in J&K. It is widely speculated that the meeting has been called following uproar by political parties over uncertainty created by the Union Home Ministry’s recent reply on its deadline for submitting the report in the Parliament. The three Member of Parliament (MPs) of National Conference (NC) will attend the scheduled meeting. “Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) leaders will attend the Delimitation Commission;s associate members meeting in New Delhi next week,” party MP Hasnain Masoodi said on Saturday.
He, however, said, there was no shift in the party's stand that the exercise offends the spirit of the Constitution. Seeing the overall scenario, the party has decided that its MPs will attend the meeting, Masoodi, the MP from south Kashmirs Anantnag said.
He said since the commissions cannot travel to the length and breadth of the Union Territory, they cannot hear what people have to say.
So, we will take the people's viewpoint to the commission, he said, adding all three MPs from the party — NC president Farooq Abdullah, Akbar Lone and himself — will arrive in Delhi.
The NC MP said the party had written to the commission seeking seek its agenda, but there was no response. “We want to know what their agenda is. We had asked them to submit the agenda of the meeting as well as the relevant supporting material. But, they did not. So, we have to go there to see what their agenda is…,” he said.
Stressing that the party had not changed its stand on the matter, he said, …This is not something new. The party (had earlier) met the commission on its Srinagar visit, submitted memorandum saying it is not a permissible route in the Constitution. We stand by that. There is no shift in our stand that this exercise offends the spirit of the Constitution he said.
He said the right thing for the government would have been to restore the August 4, 2019, position – a day before the Centre revoked the erstwhile state's special status — and then proceed with the delimitation.
The NC had boycotted the first associate meeting of the commission in February saying the exercise was an outcome of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act-2019, which the party had challenged in the Supreme Court.
It said participation in the proceedings of the commission was tantamount to accepting the August 5, 2019, changes.
Asserting that the PDP has no faith in the delimitation commission, the party chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said "As far as the delimitation commission is concerned, it is BJP's commission. Their attempt is to pitch the majority against the minority and further disempower the people.”
“They want to increase the (assembly) seats in such a way to benefit the BJP," Mehbooba told reporters after addressing a youth convention in Rajouri district. To a question about participation of National Conference MPs, Mehbooba said it is their own decision. “It is their own decision. What can I say about it," she said