Delimitation Commission begins tour of Jammu and Kashmir to gain ‘first-hand information’

The Delimitation Commission arrived today in Srinagar to hold deliberations with representatives of political parties, district officials and other stakeholders and gain “first-hand information” as it begins the exercise of redrawing the Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. The four-day visit will conclude on July 9.

The members of the commission will begin their programme from Pahalgam, where they will meet officials of the four districts of South Kashmir—Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian. The members will meet political leaders in the capital Srinagar later in the day.

On July 5, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) said that it was up to the individual political parties to decide whether they want to meet the commission or not. The PAGD has not taken a joint decision in this regard.

“As far as the PAGD is concerned, our stand is that these are autonomous bodies and the respective political parties will decide about it [participating in the commission’s meeting]. Whatever the parties think is suitable for them, they will take steps accordingly,” Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, PAGD spokesperson and Communist Party of India (Marxit) leader said.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) today ruled out participating in the delimitation exercise whereas a five-member delegation of the National Conference (N.C.), on the other hand, will be meeting the members of the commission.

The visit follows the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and various political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi on June 24.

After the meeting, an impression was created by the Centre that the delimitation exercise and the Assembly election will precede the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. This has irked the political leadership of Jammu and Kashmir. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said: “On the one hand the Centre claimed that the decision in August 2019 was taken [to facilitate] a complete merger of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India and, on the other hand, Jammu and Kashmir is [being] treated differently by bringing [in] a delimitation commission.”

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