Kashmir-based political parties and civil society groups have accepted the invitation of the J&K Delimitation Commission , headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, and will meet its members during their visit to the Valley on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), headed by Mehbooba Mufti, on Tuesday decided to stay away from the Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission exercise, saying “there are apprehensions the outcome is pre-planned, it will further result in political disempowerment of J&K’s people and is aimed at realising the political vision of a particular political party”.
A National Conference leader said a five-member team, comprising Abdul Raheem Rather, Mohammad Shafi, Mian Altaf Ahmad, Nasir Aslam Wani and Sakina Ittoo, will meet the panel and put forth the party’s suggestions.
Farooq Abdullah of the NC spearheads the Gupkar alliance , an amalgam of five political parties, which has been critical of the Centre’s move of August 5, 2019 , and has demanded the pre-August 5 position.
Sajad Lone’s People’s Conference has nominated four party leaders, the BJP four, Altaf Bukhari’s J&K Apni party prepared a list of five leaders and the Congress named six leaders to meet the visiting commission in Srinagar. Leaders of the BSP, the CPI and the CPI-M will also meet the panel. However, the PDP had not nominated any leader till Tuesday evening.
The commission’s members will hold a series of meetings with political parties, district election officers and other stakeholders during their four-day stay starting Wednesday.
According to J&K Reorganisation Act , the U.T. will add seven more constituencies to its 83-member Assembly ahead of elections. The commission is mandated to delineate the boundaries of new Assembly constituencies. Scores of delegations, including civil society groups, have expressed their desire to meet the commission.
Besides Justice Desai, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and the J&K Election Commissioner are members of the commission. The commission will also visit south Kashmir, Jammu and the Chenab valley in coming days.
Earlier, the NC had boycotted the commission, saying it had challenged the J&K Reorganisation Act before the court. However, it decided to meet the commission following an all-party meet organised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 24 in New Delhi.
The Centre has pressed for a timeline for J&K, which will first see completion of the delimitation process, followed by elections in the U.T. However, the Gupkar alliance has called for restoration of statehood after the delimitation process.