PAGD meets ahead of Delimitation Comm visit, decision today

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Cong, PC, JKAP, NPP to meet Panel

Open 35% PoJK seats: BJP; BSP for raising SC segments

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, July 4: Ahead of four-day visit of Delimitation Commission, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar declaration (PAGD) met in Srinagar tonight at the residence of National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah to deliberate stand on meeting the Panel as well as development post-June 24 All Party Meeting (APM) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
The meeting lasted till late tonight and a briefing on what transpired is expected tomorrow morning, insiders said.
The meeting was attended among others by PAGD chairman Dr Farooq Abdullah, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, CPM veteran MY Tarigami, Hasnain Masoodi, NC MP and Muzaffar Shah.
Insiders said the PAGD discussed post-All Party Meeting developments as well as the first visit of Delimitation Commission to Jammu and Kashmir from July 6-9.
There were reports that the parties were likely to except the invitations attended to them by the Delimitation Commission for meetings in Srinagar on July 6 and Jammu on July 8. However, a final decision will be announced tomorrow.
The National Conference which has three Associate Members in the Delimitation Commission, all of whom are Lok Sabha members from Kashmir, had abstained from first meeting of the Panel in New Delhi in February this year citing that the party has challenged J&K Reorganization Act in the Apex Court under which the Commission has been set up.
Meanwhile, the Congress has also decided to meet the Delimitation Commission at both Jammu and Srinagar.
PCC (I) chief G A Mir said the party will demand “transparent and time-bound” delimitation of Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir so that doubts among the people are set to rest.
“At the All-Party Meeting on June 24, the Home Minister assured that the Commission is working in independent manner. We hope the assurance is correct,” Mir said.
Former Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Kavinder Gupta said the BJP will meet the Delimitation Commission at all the places where it will interact with delegations-be it Jammu, Srinagar, Kishtwar or Pahalgam.
“It’s time for the delimitation to undo ‘political discrimination’ done with Jammu region for past several years. The Commission should look into the fact that plain Assembly constituency Gandhi Nagar in Jammu has nearly two lakh voters while many segments in plain areas of Kashmir are based on 70,000 voters,” Gupta said, adding the Commission should see all aspects and remove years’ long discrimination with Jammu.
Gupta said the BJP will also seek de-reservation of 35 percent out of 24 seats reserved in the Assembly for Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) as large population from PoJK has migrated to Jammu.
Nationalist Panthers Party (NPP) president Harshdev Singh said the party will meet the Commission and seek equal Assembly seats for Jammu and Kashmir divisions as less seats to Jammu as compared to the Valley are root cause of entire discrimination done with the region.
“We will stress on equal seats in the Legislative Assembly for Jammu and Kashmir division. There should be no political dominance of any region over the other. If they want the two regions to live together, it is their duty to do justice with both regions by dividing the Assembly seats equally between them,” Harshdev said.
People’s Conference headed by Sajjad Lone will also meet the Delimitation Commission.
PC’s spokesperson Adnan Ashraf said the People’s Conference has decided to meet the Commission and put forward the desire for very transparent process of delimitation of Assembly seats.
Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) chairman Syed Altaf Bukhari has also announced the party’s decision to meet the visiting Commission members and seek free and fair delimitation of the Assembly seats.
The JKAP delegations will meet the Delimitation Commission at Jammu as well as in Srinagar.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Som Nath Majotra said the party delegation will meet the Delimitation Commission in Jammu on July 8 and seek increase in SC reserved seats in the J&K Assembly from seven to 10 as population of SCs has increased over the period when seven seats were reserved.
The Delimitation Commissio-ner is headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai and comprised Chief Election Commission Sushil Chandra Sharma and State Election Commissioner KK Sharma.