Jammu: Dispelling notions that his party is not happy with the draft Delimitation Commission proposal, Jammu and Kashmir BJP chief Ravinder Raina on Sunday said concerns raised by party activists and the public have been noted and a few suggestions are being filed.
Raina dismissed the opposition outcry on the draft proposal, saying it has become a routine for parties like the Congress, National Conference and the PDP to raise a question mark and unleash propaganda on every good work done to provide justice to those marginalised over the decades under their rule.
The Delimitation Commission, in its draft report, has proposed an overhaul of Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, triggering protests from all political parties in the union territory.
The draft report was handed over to five associate members from the union territory Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi and Akbar Lone (Lok Sabha MPs from the National Conference) and Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore (BJP MPs) on February 4 evening, asking them to file their objections by February 14, after which the report would be made public.
“The Delimitation Commission has done a commendable job. They have gone through the length and breadth and met different political parties besides leaders of various social and religious organisations and panchayati raj institution members, including district and block development council members, before coming out with a draft proposal,” Raina told PTI here.
He lauded the hard work of the commission to provide justice to the deprived areas but said since the people in some pockets have raised their concerns, the BJP has taken note of it and our Parliament members will definitely put forth their concerns before the commission on February 14 to request for a review .
After almost all political parties opposed the draft Delimitation Commission report, hundreds of BJP activists on February 7 tendered mass resignation to protest the proposed merger of the Suchetgarh assembly constituency with R S Pura in Jammu district.
“We have pacified the protesting activists by assuring them that their concerns will be put forth before the commission Suchetgarh is located near the International Border and the people of the constituency met with our parliamentarians, expressing their desire to keep the constituency intact,” he said.
Among other things, he said the BJP parliamentarians will also plead for de-reservation of the R S Pura seat and highlight the concerns of the people of Poonch district, where the commission has reserved three seats for the Scheduled Tribes, which was against the aspirations of the local people who wanted one of the seats to be de-reserved.
The commission has proposed six additional seats for Jammu region and one for Kashmir, while reserving 16 constituencies for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The BJP leader said the people of Poonch and Rajouri districts are happy with their re-alignment with the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency.
“We will request the commission to add Shopian in the new constituency as the district shares a geographic boundary with Poonch and Rajouri,” he said.
Raina said he was thankful to the Delimitation Commission for creation of the new constituencies, including the Mata Vaishno Devi assembly segment in Reasi district, Trehgam in Kupwara district and the Ramgarh assembly segment along the IB in Samba district as the people there have faced deprivation over the years.
On the widespread protest by opposition parties against the draft proposal, he said the Delimitation Commission has done its work in a transparent manner and the BJP has no role in its functioning.
“The people in general are happy and satisfied. Only vested interests are making hue and cry and are unleashing baseless propaganda. It has become a habit for the Congress, NC and the PDP to oppose every good work being done for the upliftment for those who have faced injustice during their rule,” Raina said.
Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who heads the National Conference, had slammed the draft report, saying it “defies any and all logic” and that no political, social and administrative reason can justify the recommendations.
Abdullah, Lok Sabha MP from the Srinagar parliamentary seat, also made it clear that the party is now engaged in formulating a detailed response to this report and is exploring other options to challenge the entire process.
The commission, headed by justice Ranjana Prakash Desai (retired), was set up on March 6, 2020 and its term is expiring on March 6, though officials indicate that it might get an extension of a few months.
Once the delimitation exercise is completed, the number of Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will go up from 83 to 90. Twenty-four seats of the Assembly continue to remain vacant as they fall under the Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK).
While splitting Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories in August 2019, the Union Home Ministry had increased the Assembly seats of Jammu and Kashmir by seven, taking the total to 114 24 of which are reserved for PoJK while election will be held for 90 seats.