Disappointed with outcome of June 24 meeting: PAGD
*Rather to lead delegation in Srinagar, Rana in Jammu
JAMMU, July 5: As the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) left it to its constituents to take call on meeting the Delimitation Commission individually on the ground that the invitation has been extended by the Panel on the name of political parties and not the Alliance, the National Conference and CPM today announced that they will be meeting the Commission which is undertaking its first four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir from tomorrow. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Mehbooba Mufti has, however, not made any announcement so far on its meeting with the Commission.
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Headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, the Delimitation Commission comprising Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra Sharma and State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma, will reach Srinagar tomorrow where it will meet political parties. It is scheduled to meet political leaders in Jammu on July 8. It will have detailed interaction with Deputy Commissioners of Kashmir at Pahalgam and Srinagar on July 7 and that of Jammu at Kishtwar and Jammu on July 8 and 9.
PAGD spokesman MY Tarigami told the Excelsior that Alliance constituents discussed the visit of Delimitation Commission in the meeting last night and felt that since the invitations by the Panel have been extended to political parties individually and not addressed to the Gupkar Alliance, the parties should take a decision on their own on whether to meet the Commission or not.
“The CPM leaders will meet the Commission,” Tarigami said.
National Conference headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah has also decided to meet the Delimitation Commission at both Srinagar and Jammu.
The NC delegation in Srinagar will be led by Abdul Rahim Rather, former Minister and comprise Mian Altaf, Mohammad Shaffi Uri, Sakina Itoo and Nassir Sogami while the party leaders who will meet the Panel in Jammu will be headed by provincial president Devender Singh Rana and include Surjit Singh Slathia, Ajay Sadhotra, Sajjad Kitchloo and Javed Rana.
The National Conference decision to meet the Delimitation Commission assumed significance as its three Associate Members, all three Lok Sabha MPs from Kashmir, had stayed away from the Panel’s meeting in New Delhi in February this year.
However, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) headed by Mehbooba Mufti hasn’t taken any decision on meeting with the Delimitation Commission till late tonight.
Sources said the PDP hasn’t submitted any names of its leaders for meeting with the Commission. The Panel has, however, reserved 20 minutes time for the PDP from 5.50 pm to 6.10 pm tomorrow.
The Congress delegation which will meet the Delimitation Commission comprised G A Mir, Peerzada Sayeed, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Bashir Magray, Surinder Channi and Vinod Koul.
The BJP delegation incudes Sofi Yusuf, G M Mir, Surinder Ambardar and Altaf Thakur.
As reported today, all other major political parties including BJP, Congress, Nationalist Panther Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, People’s Conference and Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) have already announced that they will be meeting the Delimitation Commission.
NPP president Prof Bhim Singh today announced that he along with Harshdev Singh, Mohammad Iqbal Chowdhary, Praduyuman Krishan Ganju, Anita Thakur and Yashpaul Kundal will meet the Commission in Jammu while another delegation will meet the Panel in Srinagar.
Meanwhile, the PAGD today expressed disappointment over the outcome of the June 24 meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, citing the absence of any Confidence Building Measures and concrete steps to end the “siege and atmosphere of suppression” that have “choked” the people of Jammu and Kashmir since August 2019.
It reminded the BJP-led Central Government to honour its commitment made in Parliament to restore the Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and said Assembly elections must only be held once this is done.
The PAGD is an alliance of six mainstream parties — National Conference, Peoples’ Democratic Party, CPM, CPI, Awami National Conference and Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement — that was cobbled after the Centre abrogated the special status of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019 and divided it into two Union Territories (UTs).
“To this end (restoration of statehood to J-K), the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration has decided to reach out to other political parties in Jammu and Kashmir with a view to take a common position on the issue,” PAGD spokesperson and CPM leader M Y Tarigami said in a statement.
The PAGD issued the statement after holding an emergency meeting late last night at the residence of its chairperson and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah.
“All the members of the PAGD expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the Delhi meeting especially at the absence of any substantial Confidence Building Measures such as releasing political and other prisoners from jails and taking concrete steps to end the siege and atmosphere of suppression that has choked JK since 2019,” the PAGD statement said.
It said the Confidence Building Measures would have initiated the much-needed process of reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who are the biggest stakeholders and sufferers.
On the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status by the Centre and its subsequent bifurcation into two UTs, the PAGD reiterated its commitment to fight together to reverse the unconstitutional and unacceptable changes “foisted” on the people of the erstwhile state “using all Constitutional, legal and political means at its disposal”.
“The PAGD’s struggle for undoing these changes will continue as long as it takes while striving to achieve this objective as early as possible,” it said.
As far as the restoration of Statehood is concerned, the PAGD said, it has been the BJP’s commitment on the floor of Parliament and it must honour its word.
“So, any Assembly election must be held only after the restoration of full Statehood for JK,” it added.
The PAGD’s meeting was attended by its vice chairperson and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, CPM leader M Y Tarigami, NC leader Hasnain Masoodi, People’s Movement chief Javed Mustafa Mir and Awami National Conference senior vice president Muzaffar Ahmed Shah.
The June 24 meeting that was chaired by PM Modi was the first outreach by the Centre to the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of the erstwhile state’s special status. Fourteen leaders from eight different political parties had attended the meeting.