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Kashmir-based parties flay Delimitation Commission report

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Srinagar, May 5: Kashmir-based political parties on Thursday flayed the Delimitation Commission report on redrawing assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging the attempt was to disempower the people in the Valley politically.

Kashmir-based parties flay Delimitation Commission report

Redrawing the electoral map of Jammu and Kashmir, a three-member Delimitation Commission on Thursday earmarked 47 assembly seats for Kashmir division and 43 for Jammu in its final order submitted just a day before its two-year tenure was to end.

A gazette notification was issued after the panel, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, signed the final order giving Jammu six additional seats and one more to Kashmir. The National Conference said it was studying the impact of the Delimitation Commission report on individual assembly segments in Jammu and Kashmir but claimed that the BJP and its proxies will be punished by the voters whenever elections are held in the union territory.

"We have seen the final recommendations of the Delimitation Commission. We are studying the implications of these recommendations for individual assembly constituencies. "No amount of gerrymandering will change the ground reality which is that whenever elections are held the voter will punish the BJP & its proxies for what they have done to J&K over the last 4 years," the National Conference tweeted.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the final report of the commission had proved right the fears expressed by the party when the delimitation exercise was undertaken. "The PDP from day one has looked at the delimitation exercise as an extension of the process started on August 5, 2019 to disempower people from a particular community and a region.

The final draft has proved our fears right again," a PDP spokesman said. He said the central government "misused independent institutions" to turn the electoral majority into a minority by using geography and access as a ruse.

"It will be for the first time in the electoral history of the country that elections are being rigged long even before the first vote is cast. It's another sad chapter of history written by the rulers sitting in New Delhi," he added.

The People’s Conference, led by Sajad Gani Lone, said the delimitation report is a repeat of the past and accused the National Conference of providing sanctity to the delimitation exercise. "Same traditional entities are calling the shots behind the scenes. Kashmir has been discriminated against as in the past. No change. Only degree of disempowerment is greater," the party said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Over the last six decades, Kashmir’s share of assembly seats in the J-K assembly increased from 43 to 47, while Jammu’s share rose from 30 to 43. Who is responsible for systematic disempowerment of Kashmiris from 1947, it asked. "Those who aided and abetted in the journey from Jammu’s 30 to 37 are the ones who aided and abetted from 37 to 43.

"Wish Kashmiri parties had stayed away and not diluted the stigma associated with a people-less process. Hope Kashmiris will remember the parties who associated themselves with delimitation process which was in essential a tool for disempowerment will always be in wonderment.

“How could a party which associated itself with the delimitation process be so audacious. They actually had the nerve of submitting one memorandum in Kashmir and a separate memorandum in Jammu. Ironically the memorandums were contradictory," the People’s Conference said "The Jammu one seemed to have been copy-pasted from the Hindutva brigade,” it added. The party said it will go for an RTI and seek the video recordings of the meetings.

"How those who started beating their chests outside the meeting halls were bending their back backwards to appease and please the members of the delimitation commission. Financial scams indulged in —- during the last few decades cannot be squared off by covertly facilitating disempowerment of the Kashmiris. "How stupid we were. We couldn’t see through the game plan. The raids.

The EDs. It was all a game. A trade-off. They again bartered away the Kashmiris. The barterers are the same. When will this change," it said. The party said it does not claim that the outcome of the exercise would have been any different if there was no participation of the National Conference. "But the process would not enjoy the sanctity that they enjoy now”. CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said though the Delimitation Commission was constituted under the Delimitation Act of 2002, it has redrawn the constituencies of UT of J-K in accordance with the previsions of J-K Re-organisation Act 2019 which has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

"The Re-organisation Act modified the law of enfranchisement of J-K. Voting rights for the State Assembly which were restricted to only permanent residents have been extended to non-state subjects also. The exercise is bound to disempower the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the long run," he said. Senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz said a cursory look at the report reveals some of its “extremely negative” sides, which can never be accepted by the people of the J-K.

"The Commission’s recommendation of adding six Assembly seats to Jammu region and only one seat to Kashmir smacks of its pre-determined erroneous assessment of the situation. Many observers had already suspected that the Commission would play the nefarious game in tandem with the Union Govt!" Soz said. He said the commission has totally failed to appreciate that a sizeable number of people in Kashmir belong to social castes who carry the same stigma as STs and SCs. PTI

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