SRINAGAR: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has decided not to meet the Delimitation Commission, which arrived here on a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to hold deliberations with Deputy Electoral Officers (DEOs) and representatives of political parties.
“On August 5, 2019, the constitutional and democratic values of our country were trampled upon with people of J&K being robbed of their legitimate constitutional and democratic rights by means of abrogation of Article 370 and 35 (A) of the Indian constitution, illegally and unconstitutionally,” read a letter written by PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone to Delimitation Commission chairman Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakesh Desai.
It states that day also saw the people of J&K being humiliated and demeaned by downgrading and bifurcation of an almost 200-year-old state, an act with no precedence in independent India.
“The Reorganization Act being a product of the same process, we are of the considered opinion that the Delimitation Commission lacks 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,” the PDP general secretary said.
He said there are apprehensions that the delimitation exercise is part of the overall process of political disempowerment of the people of J&K that the Centre has embarked on.
“There are apprehensions that the process is aimed at realizing the political vision of a particular party in J&K wherein, like other things, the views and wishes of the people of J&K would be considered the least. It is a widespread belief that the contours and outcome of the exercise are pre-planned and the exercise is a mere formality. The very intent is under question,” he said.
Referring to the June 24 all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, the PDP general secretary said, “We are disappointed to see that after the meeting, nothing has moved and no effort has been made to bring ease into the lives of people, giving credence to those, who had in the first instance, called the meeting a mere photo opportunity.”
He alleged that the Centre has continued with its “daily diktats to the people of J&K including recent amendments and orders including those making every person a suspect (Govt employees antecedents verification order) and deepening the divide between the two regions of J&K (the order related to Darbar move).”
“In view of the above mentioned facts and issues, our party has decided to stay away from this process and not be part of the exercise, the outcome which is widely believed to be pre-planned and which may further hurt the interests of our people,” he added.
Barring the PDP, other political parties including those representing the Gupkar alliance would be meeting the Delimitation Commission.
It is the Delimitation Commission’s first visit to J&K after its constitution by the Centre in March last year.
The Delimitation Commission was formed in March last year to carve out more Assembly and parliamentary constituencies in J&K after the scrapping of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K state into two UTs. The one-year-term of the commission was extended in March this year.
The delimitation exercise is being carried out as per the 2011 Census. According to the 2011 census, Kashmir’s population was 68,88,475 and Jammu’s population was 53,78,538.
At present the J&K Assembly has got 83 seats – 47 in Kashmir and 36 in Jammu region.
Once the delimitation exercise is completed, the number of Assembly seats in J&K will increase from 83 to 90.