NC Undecided As MPs Get J&K Delimitation Panel Invite

Members of the J&K Delimitation Commission at a news conference in Jammu  | File Photo 

Srinagar- National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi on Saturday said they have received an invitation from the Delimitation Commission for a meeting in New Delhi on December 20 and that the party leadership will take a decision on their participation in it.

Masoodi and two other NC MPs — Farooq Abdullah and Mohammad Akbar Lone — had boycotted the first meeting of the commission earlier this year, saying the exercise was an outcome of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019, which the party has challenged in the Supreme Court.

In addition to the NC parliamentarians, BJP MPs Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma are associate members of the commission.
Masoodi told PTI, “Yes, we have received the invitation for the meeting.”

He, however, said no agenda for the meeting was mentioned in the invitation.

“We have not been given any kind of agenda or draft report or any support material, ” he added.

Asked whether the NC MPs will participate in the meeting, Masoodi said the party leadership would take a call on the matter.

The party leadership will discuss the matter and take a decision, he said.

The invitation to NC MPs comes at a time when the Commission tasked to redraw boundaries of assembly and parliamentary constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, has reportedly finalised its draft proposal and is expected to share the same with associate members.

According to reports, the panel headed by Justice (Retd.) Ranjana Prakash Desai may also recommend that the government consider bringing representation for Kashmiri Pandits in J&K assembly through law, as the delimitation process cannot do so since it is bound by its limited terms of reference and the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019.

The KPs, according to the report, have also maintained that over five lakh members of the community don’t have representation in the Union Territory, and have sought Commission’s intervention on the same.

On March 6, 2020, the government of India set up the Delimitation Commission and tasked it to finish delimitation in a year. On March 4 this year, it was granted a year’s extension. This was done on the request of the commission members since it couldn’t make much progress due to the “Covid-19-induced shutdown across the country.”

Jammu and Kashmir saw the last delimitation exercise in 1994-95, after 22 years, which resulted in an increase in the number of Assembly constituencies from 76 to 87. The Jammu region saw an increase of five seats (from 32 to 37 seats), the Kashmir Valley an increase of four seats (from 42 to 46) and Ladakh two seats (from two to four).

The erstwhile State as a whole had a total of 111 seats—24 reserved and vacant for Pakistan controlled Kashmir. (With agency inputs)

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