Jammu, Dec 17: National Conference senior leader and MP Justice (retired) Hasnain Masoodi on Friday stated that his party, though not satisfied with Delimitation Commission's response, will participate in its meeting scheduled for its five Associate members on December 20 in New Delhi.
He also hinted that the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) in its proposed meeting in Jammu on December 21 will deliberate on the current situation. “It will discuss a change of mindset post-repeal of Farm laws to build a case for restoration of special status of J&K while drawing an analogy between the two as many petitions are pending in the Supreme Court in both the cases,” he said.
With regard to the meeting of the Delimitation Commission, Justice Hasnain told Greater Kashmir, “It’s almost certain. I think the way things are emerging and shaping up, the National Conference is likely to participate in the meet. We’re very likely to go but our handicap is – we are asking for an agenda. But it has not been shared (with us) which means the material (specific issues) likely to be discussed or likely to be considered is not with us.”
Among five Associate members of the Commission, three are National Conference (NC) Members of Parliament i.e., Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mohammed Akbar Lone and Justice Hasnain while two are BJP MPs i.e., Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma.
But the Commission has claimed to have sent a brief agenda of the proposed meeting to its Associate members, responding to this question Justice Hasnain clarified, “See, you will agree that we see it in a different way. When we say the agenda (we will like to see) it means that we want to know the agenda items. We wanted to know what would be the items which would be discussed there (in the meeting). But what they sent was just a one-liner or two-liner note. They said the Delimitation
Commission would be reconsidering which it was dealing with. See that is what, (which) is even otherwise expected to be done by the Commission.”
The brief agenda, which the Commission had released, read, “It is informed that the Commission would like to discuss the proposed allocation of the Assembly constituencies in the districts of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.”
When asked if it meant that NC was not satisfied with the ‘agenda’ sent by Commission, he said that the party was not satisfied by its (Commission’s) response. “We expect the full agenda i.e., detailed itemised agenda to be shared. But I don’t think that you call that ‘agenda’ what they’ve sent saying- ‘Commission will consider this..’,” he said.
But he hinted that this issue won’t be an irritant in NC’s participation in the meeting. “Yes that’s there but it is emerging that we’re likely to participate,” he said.
Does it bother him as an Associate member that most of the developments of Commission reach to him or other Associate members of his party through media reports only, on this account Justice Hasnain gives a clean chit to it (Commission).
“No, it’s not like that. They directly communicated to us. It is addressed directly to us. To be fair to it (Commission), they did write a letter initially communicating to us that it was going to convene a meeting on that particular date (December 20). We wrote them back asking for an agenda. Then they responded that the Commission would deliberate on this. But it’s just that we wanted a more detailed agenda,” he stated.
Earlier NC had raised an issue of constitutionality of the entire exercise being undertaken in its initial meeting with the Commission during its visit to J&K in July this year. NC had abstained from the first meeting of Associate Members convened by the Commission.“Our line of reasoning was that this Commission was created under “The Reorganisation Act” and this Act has already been under challenge in the Supreme Court of India. Its constitutional validity was challenged,” Justice Hasnain had asserted.
With regard to a question about the purpose and agenda behind the proposed meeting of PAGD in Jammu, he said, “Obviously it will discuss the current situation, the way things have gone since we last met and other related issues including the revocation of three Farm laws.”
“See, the repeal of three Farm laws has changed the mindset. We’ve been demanding that the way, though there are many petitions pending in the Supreme Court against the Farm laws, they have taken a decision (to repeal them). After all, what were the arguments against the Farm laws? Predominantly the argument was – these are unconstitutional as they offend the constitution and these are resented by the people for whom they are intended. Here also (in case of abrogation of Article 370 and 35-A), it’s kind of both questions. Ladakh observed Bandh recently (on December 13). Listen to the voices emerging from Jammu. Here also the people have varied opinions about those decisions. Ditto is about Kashmir, where there is also great resentment. We’ll try to evolve a common ground,” Justice Hasnain gives an outline of deliberations likely to take place during the PAGD meeting, being perceived as an attempt to reach-out to Jammu.
“So, threadbare discussions on developments during the June 24 meeting with the Prime Minister, follow-up meeting of PAGD constituents etc., all these matters will come up in the PAGD meeting. There are 10-12 petitions (against abrogation of Article 370, 35-A) pending in the Supreme Court including the very first petition filed by NC, followed by others including (CPI-M leader M Y) Tarigami Sahib,” he averred.
PAGD meeting in Jammu was proposed by NC president and former Chief Minister National Conference Dr Farooq Abdullah during his meeting with Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) president Prof Bhim Singh on December 11. Meeting was seen as an attempt to take the Jammu region also on board by PAGD to achieve its basic objective of restoration of the special status of J&K.
The duo had resolved to “launch an effective movement together for immediate restoration of Statehood, early assembly elections and ensure equitable development of three regions.”
During the meeting, Farooq had “proposed the meeting of all recognized political parties of J&K namely NC, PDP and JKNPP on December 19, 2021 at Jammu” to discuss the “movement for restoration of Statehood and State Assembly elections.”
Later, on December 13, senior CPI(M) leader and former MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami had also met JKNPP president and discussed the initiatives proposed by the recognized political parties in J&K.
Hinting at a big move of PAGD to reach out to Jammu region, Tarigami had stated that Kashmir could not go alone to achieve its (PAGD’s) objectives.