PDP boycotts meeting, shoots letter to panel
By: Amjad Hussain
Srinagar: Delimitation Commission Tuesday arrived in Srinagar as part of its four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to seek opinion from the representatives of different political parties and other stakeholders vis-à-vis mega exercise to carve out new constituencies in the Union Territory.
The five-member panel led by Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai after arriving in Srinagar this afternoon right away drove to Hotel Grand Lalit at Gupkar Road to meet the representatives of various regional and national political parties to gather firsthand information about the ongoing exercise.
Others in the panel include Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra, and Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan.
The commission upon its arrival in Srinagar met the representatives of several registered political parties including Congress, National Conference, Bharatiya Janata Party, Apni Party, Peoples Conference, Communist Party of India Marxist, National Panthers Party and others.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), however, refused to meet the panel alleging that the exercise is ‘pre-planned’ to further harm the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Awami National Conference (ANC) has also boycotted the meeting.
As per the details available, the panel had a twenty minute brief discussion with the representatives of each political party. The visiting panel would also have deliberations with the District Election Officers of 20 districts.
It may be in place to mention that New Delhi after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A began the mega exercise of redrawing Assembly Constituencies in the newly carved out Union Territory.
The panel began its maiden trip days after an All Party Meeting (APM) of political parties from Jammu and Kashmir was convened by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in New Delhi. PM had assured the attendees that elections will be conducted in Jammu and Kashmir as soon as exercise is done.
Process of meetings with the political parties lasted for three and half hours from 3:30 pm till 7pm in the evening. The leaders put forth their suggestions before the panel which is on four day visit to the Union Territory.
PDP termed the All Party Meeting (APM) convened by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in New Delhi as ‘fruitless’ saying there was no outcome of the meeting.
“We refused to attend the meeting and sent a letter to the Delimitation Commission stating there was no outcome of the demands vis-à-vis Article 370, release of prisoners, arrest spree and harassment of masses put forth by our party President during the meeting with the PM in New Delhi on June 24,” said PDP General Secretary, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura told reporters.
Abdul Rahim Rather led five member panel of National Conference presented a detailed memorandum to the commission asserting that redrawing boundaries of Assembly could be a credible once statehood is restored to Jammu and Kashmir.
Talking to reporters after meeting with the panel, NC provincial president, Nasir Aslam Wani said they told them that the reorganization act of 2019 was unconstitutional.
“We told them that the reorganization Act 2019 was unconstitutional. We have filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India and the matter is sub-judice at present. We told the commission that you should have waited till SC would announce its verdict,” said Wani.
He also said that they informed the commission that people have lost their faith from the institutions hence the exercise of redrawing assembly boundaries should be transparent so that people won’t feel betrayed.
PCC president, Ghulam Ahmad Mir said the party decided to meet visiting commission after thorough deliberations with other party colleagues. He said the Congress representatives put forth their viewpoint before the commission.
“Since they have a limited role of delimitation, we told them that exercise is the outcome of August 5, 2019 decision otherwise it has been decided in the Parliament that Delimitation exercise will take place in 2026. On one hand PM shouts loud slogans of one nation and one constitution while on the other present dispensation modified the same. Why the exercise was held in J&K before five years,” he added.
Peoples Conference leader, Khurshid Alam while talking to media said he told the panel it’s the people who need representation and not deserts and stones. He said that he informed the visiting delegation that the report should be complied as per 2011 census.
Apni Party leader, Rafi Ahmad Mir said the Delimitation Commission assured them that suggestion of everyone will be seriously pondered upon.
“I told the delegation that people being apprehensive think that it is a time buying exercise as the commission has already taken a decision, however they assured us that people’s apprehensions will be taken care of and the suggestions put forth by the political leaders will be accordingly considered,” Mir told reporters.