SRINAGAR: Barring the BJP, no political outfit in Jammu and Kashmir has welcomed the final notification issued by J&K Delimitation Commission on Thursday. It has recommended six additional Assembly segments for Jammu region and only one Assembly segment for Kashmir valley. It has enhanced the Assembly seats of Jammu and Kashmir from 83 to 90 now.
Reacting to this, former Chief Minister and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said that she had called this commission a BJP commission right from the start. She claimed that the final recommendations by the Delimitation Commission have shown that this is the implementation of BJP’s agenda to disempower the majority population in Jammu and Kashmir and reduced them to a minority. Rejecting the final draft of the Delimitation Commission, she said that they have overlooked the basic parameter of population and have tried to help BJP only, by enhancing seats in Jammu region.
After the initial boycott, three sitting MPs of National Conference, including Farooq Abdullah, participated in the meetings of commission and have come under flak from the political opponents. PC chairman and former Minister Sajad Gani Lone has alleged that the people who ruled Kashmir for decades have once again sold the aspirations of Kashmiris for their misdeeds of the past. He also said that in the last six decades, there has been decline in the Assembly seats of Kashmir valley and increase of Assembly seats in Jammu region. He said, “Assembly seats increased from 43 to 47 in Kashmir, while Jammu’s share rose from 30 to 43. Who is responsible for systematic disempowerment of Kashmiris from 1947?”
Lashing out at the Abdullahs and Muftis without naming them, PC in a statement said, “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 had again bartered away the Kashmiris. The barterers are the same. When will this change? We are not saying that had they not participated, there would have been no delimitation and that the process would have been stalled. But the process would not enjoy the sanctity that they enjoy now.”
The National Conference has been very cautious in its response so far and their spokesman told the media that “we will study the delimitation report segment wise and will come with a response soon”.
It is in place to mention that the delimitation panel chaired by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, issued the final notification to Jammu and Kashmir reorganization of the Parliamentary constituencies and Assembly segments. The commission has taken into account displaced migrants by reservation of two seats for them and has also recommended reservation of nine Assembly segments for Schedule Tribes, six in Jammu region and three in Kashmir valley.
A notification of the Delimitation Commission’s order was published in the Gazette of India on Thursday. The notification has come under sharp criticism from civil society members also who have questioned the wisdom and parameters of the commission to increase the seats in Jammu region only.
“The award of seats is based on the 2011 census and Jammu with 44% population is getting 48% share, while Kashmir with 56% of population share is getting only 52% share in the Assembly seats,” one of the civil society members quoted the figures. There is one more accusation against the Delimitation Commission that all the six new Assembly segments carved out in Jammu are in the Hindu dominated areas, giving an edge to BJP to win more Assembly segments in Jammu region. The commission has come under criticism for adding Rajouri and Poonch from Jammu region with Anantnag parliamentary segment of Kashmir valley. Even the pro-Jammu parties like Ikk Jutt Jammu and Panthers Party have criticized this move of the commission. The Delimitation Commission has responded by saying that they have removed the regional distinction between Jammu and Kashmir by treating it as one unit. The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) while reacting to the report said, “Our apprehensions have come true, the report has done a big injustice to people in general. The report appears to have been prepared, vetted and finalized in the BJP headquarter.”