Jammu: Several political parties met the 3-member Delimitation Commission that reached Jammu on Thursday afternoon in the last leg of its four-day visit to J&K.
While Congress reiterated its stand for the restoration of statehood before assembly elections, BJP hoped that the Delimitation Commission would undo the “injustice meted out to Jammu region in the previous such exercises.”
National Conference, while reiterating its commitment to “inclusive J&K”, stated that the Delimitation Commission should work in the most transparent, judicious and fair manner providing justice to all in delimiting the constituencies as per the constitutional framework.
PCC chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma stated, “We conveyed to the Delimitation Commission that this exercise would remain a meaningless exercise till the Centre fulfilled its commitment made in the All Party Meeting with regard to restoration of full-fledged assembly. Without the restoration of statehood, this institution will continue to be powerless.”
“We also conveyed about the apprehensions of people about reserved constituencies and criteria to be adopted for delimiting the constituencies. We told the Commission that it would be a difficult task for them in Jammu which has a pluralistic character and greater diversity,” he said.
Sharma said it was conveyed to them that the Commission would have to ensure justice to all parts of Jammu while delimiting assembly and parliamentary constituencies. “The Commission was told that the party cannot give a concrete suggestion till its (Commission’s) draft proposal comes out in public domain,” Sharma, accompanied by former minister Raman Bhalla and other members of the delegation, said.
The Commission led by Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai visited to interact with leaders of political parties and officials to gather “first hand” inputs on the conduct of the exercise to redraw constituencies and carve out new ones in the J&K.
The BJP delegation led by its J&K president Ravinder Raina demanded the unfreezing of the 24 assembly seats falling in Pakistan-administered Kashmir to grant reservation to people displaced from PaK, Kashmiri Pandits, SCs and STs. It also sought adequate representation for Jammu in the assembly.
Former deputy chief ministers Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta, BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi and former legislator R S Pathania formed part of the BJP delegation.
National Conference delegation led by its provincial president Devender Singh Rana reiterated that in the delimitation process, each part of Jammu region should feel empowered and should not feel relegated, isolated, disconnected or disempowered.
Rana was joined by Surjeet Singh Slathia, Ajay Kumar Sadhotra, Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo and Javed Ahmed Rana.
A delegation of JKNPP headed by Prof. Bhim Singh, in its meeting with the Commission submitted that the Panthers Party “stands for restoration of statehood of J&K.”
“The Delimitation Commission is urged to take immediate steps to ensure that regional tension in J&K is diluted. The urgent need is the distribution of Assembly seats between the two provinces. There has been political tension between Jammu and Kashmir for the reason that delimitation was not held several times in the past,” it said.
Apni Party leaders led by Vice President Choudhary Zulfikar Ali emphasized to expedite the process of delimiting the assembly constituencies by involving all the stakeholders.
“The process should be open for a wider deliberation and discussion by visiting the remote areas, tehsil headquarters, and district headquarters to understand the topography, geography and composition of the population in the erstwhile State before taking a final decision on delimiting the constituencies,” it added.
The delegation also included Vikram Malhotra, Manjit Singh, Syed Asgar Ali and Haji Mumtaz Ahmed Khan.
A 3-member delegation of Jammu Kashmir Sharnarthi Action Committee (JKSAC) led by its president Gurdev Singh urged the Commission to carve out 2 constituencies for DPs of 1947 keeping in view their large concentration in Jammu district.
Ex-MLC Ravinder Sharma also submitted the representation of Devak block of Sunderbani when he met the Commission along with Ashok Sharma and others.