Jammu: After a hectic visit to the mountainous Kishtwar region, members of the Delimitation Commission Thursday arrived in winter capital Jammu, after travelling 260 kilometers and held detailed deliberations with at least 200 delegations of various political and civil society representatives from 10 districts.
The Commission chaired by retired Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai Delimitation Commission included Sushil Chandra, Chief Election Commissioner and Chandra Bhushan, Dy. Election Commissioner interacted with around 200 delegations from all 10 districts of Jammu to carve out new constituencies ahead of holding fresh Assembly elections here.
Congress: The Congress delegation led by former minister and senior vice president Raman Bhalla apprised the commission about party stand.
Interacting with the media, Bhalla said that the party demanded statehood before any elections.
“On the floor of the house, the prime minister promised statehood but now inserting new conditions is totally unacceptable,” he said. “Assembly without statehood is toothless and powerless so statehood is one of our main demands.”
He added that they told commission to give equal representation to each section of society and make special arrangements for deprived sections, scheduled caste, scheduled tribes, refugees, minorities etc.
Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party: Former minister and president of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party, Lal Singh said that we demanded more seats for Jammu but unfortunately parliament already decided that only seven seats would be increased in Jammu and Kashmir.
“This delimitation is held under the census of 2011, which is fudged, if the government can extend the period for one year (2020-21) why it can’t be extended till the new census, which is due,” Lal Singh said. “As per geographical terrain Jammu deserves 20 more seats. Other Himalayan states give special consideration to mountains and hilly terrain but this government’s intention is not good for Jammu and Kashmir.”
“My party insisted that whatever there is need of wide dialogue with people at district level and commission should involve in ground level talks in a transparent manner,” former minister Zulifkar Choudhary J&K Apni Party said.
A delegation of the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit met the Delimitation Commission and demanded the unfreezing of the 24 assembly seats falling in Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) to grant reservation to people displaced from PaK, Kashmir Pandits, SCs and STs.
Led by JK BJP president Ravinder Raina, the delegation also sought adequate representation for Jammu in the assembly.
“We demanded political reservation for POJK refugees by unfreezing the eight assembly seats from the PaJK quota, three seats for Kashmiri Pandits, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and other neglected people. Jammu, too, must get adequate representation in the assembly,” Raina said.
The National Conference led by Provincial President, Jammu, Devender Singh Rana called on the visiting Delimitation Commission in the winter capital and presented a memorandum of demands.
NC leaders said they have been a “strong votary of strengthening democracy in Jammu and Kashmir” and “always espouse the cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as per their aspirations which are diverse and multidimensional”.
They said “any Delimitation process has a vital role in empowering each constituent to be an equal shareholder in the process of democracy so that each one feels empowered and not feels relegated, isolated, disconnected or disempowered”.
They urged the visiting Delimitation Commission to “give its due to all parts of Jammu region so that our commitment for the equitable empowerment of all regions and subregions does not get dented”.
A delegation of five Panthers Party leaders led by its President Prof Bhim Singh called on the Delimitation Commission.
The Panthers Party presented a memorandum and demanded 50-50 seats for both Jammu and Kashmir regions to end discrimination and trust deficit.
Urging the Delimitation Commission Prof. Bhim Singh said that the first priority should be to reduce internal and external tension in J&K. Political discrimination must go. He told the Commission that the Parliament has fixed 90 Assembly seats for J&K.
He demanded that the Delimitation should distribute the seats on a 50:50 basis, that is 45 Assembly seats for Kashmir province and 45 for Jammu province. He also conveyed to the Delimitation Commission that there has been political tension between the two provinces in J&K mainly because of discrimination in the allotment of Assembly seats. He pleaded that the 50:50 formula shall ease the tension between the two regions and people shall be happy. KNO