Delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir is pointless until statehood is restored, says Congress memorandum

The Congress submitted a memorandum to the Delimitation Commission on July 8, pointing out that the exercise will lack political legitimacy until statehood is restored to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Centre abrogated the special status of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two union territories on August 5, 2019.

The Delimitation Commission, which is chaired by Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, is currently on a four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to engage with and gather “first-hand inputs” from political and other stakeholders as part of a process to redraw the constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir. The meetings, which began on July 6, is scheduled to conclude today. The Congress delegation met the members of the Delimitation Commission on July 6. It was led by former Ministers Muka Ram and Raman Bhalla.

The Congress memorandum stated: “Until full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir as part of the Union of India is restored, there would be no meaning for the Delimitation Commission to undertake any exercise.”

“Unfortunately, the meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi last month gave no concrete assurance in this regard,” it further said.

Bhalla later addressed the media and said: “This (statehood) is an essential confidence building measure imperative for the restoration of the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir. May we at INC point out that until the restoration of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir, as demanded in the CWC resolution of 6th August 2019, is completed, the delimitation process commencement will be rendered nugatory.”

“The unlawful detention of political leaders and their incarceration for long period without any charges is itself an anathema to the founding principles of democracy under our Constitution,” Bhalla added.

The Congress has also asked the commission to share its draft proposal among all political parties so that they could raise their objections, if any.

There are widespread apprehensions in Jammu and Kashmir that the exercise is meant to allot a disproprtionate number of constituencies to Hindu-dominated Jammu region, paving the way for the fruition of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) “Hindu-Chief Minister” aspiration.


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