PDP refuses to meet delimitation panel, calls it a preplanned move

Panel members, headed by Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, begin their four-day trip of J&K to gather information about the conduct of an exercise to carve out new constituencies in J&K

Mehbooba Mufti
The PDP led by Mehbooba Mufti says the Delimitation Commission lacks the constitutional and legal mandate. File Photo

People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti has reportedly refused to meet the Delimitation Commission members tasked to redraw constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir before the Centre plans to hold elections in the Union Territory. The Centre has promised statehood to J&K.

Mehbooba on Tuesday (July 6) termed the delimitation exercise as a “preplanned” move in favour of a particular party and “aimed to further hurt the interests of people” of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Delimitation Commission consists of Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra, and Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan.

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On July 6, the commission members are scheduled to meet political leaders of national and regional registered political parties. The purpose of this interaction will be to gather “first-hand” information about the conduct of the exercise to carve out new constituencies in J&K. Twenty minutes have been set aside for each of the leaders of key political parties, media reports said. The panel members are on a four-day visit to the UT.

Also read: PDP refuses to meet delimitation panel, calls it a preplanned move

“On August 5, 2019, the constitutional and democratic values of our country were trampled upon with the people of Jammu & Kashmir being robbed of their legitimate constitutional and democratic rights by means of abrogation of Article 370 and 35 (A) illegally and unconstitutionally,” PDP general secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone said in a letter written to Justice Desai.

Also read: Can PDP survive the new paradigm of Kashmir politics?

“We are of the considered opinion that the Delimitation Commission lacks the constitutional and legal mandate in the first place and its very existence and objectives have left every ordinary resident of J&K with many questions,” said the letter.

It said the party was disappointed to see that after the all-party meeting (with PM Modi on June 25), nothing has moved to ease the lives of the people. It said in the absence of confidence-building measures, “the party has decided to stay away from the process, the outcome of which is widely believed to be pre-planned and which may further hurt the interests of our people.”

The PDP was in alliance with the BJP between 2015 and 2018. On June 19, 2018, the BJP pulled out of the coalition government.

Also read: Delimitation and what it means for the people of Jammu and Kashmir

The National Conference (NC), however, has decided to meet the commission and its leaders Abdul Rahim Rather and Devender Rana will head the delegation of the party, which will call on the commission in Srinagar and Jammu respectively.

The NC delegation in Srinagar will be led by Abdul Rahim Rather, senior party leader and it will comprise Mian Altaf, Mohammad Shafi Uri, Sakina Itoo and Nasir Aslam Wani, reports said.

The Congress delegation meeting the commission comprises G.A. Mir, Peerzada Sayeed, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Bashir Ahmad Magray, Surinder Channi and Vinod Koul.

The BJP delegation includes Sofi Yusuf, G.M. Mir, Surinder Ambardar and Altaf Thakur.

Other political parties including Nationalist Panther Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, People’s Conference (PC) and Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) have already announced that they will be meeting the commission.

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