In J&K, Parties Reject Second Draft Of Delimitation Panel

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In J&K, Parties Reject Second Draft Of Delimitation Panel


Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir claim the second draft is also meant to favour the BJP.

Srinagar:

A fresh controversy is set to erupt over the redrawing of Jammu and Kashmir’s electoral map. The regional parties have rejected it, alleging that the boundaries have been redrawn only to help the BJP achieve its political objectives.

The commission to redraw the electoral map had first come under criticism in December after it proposed the allotment of six more assembly seats to the BJP-dominated Jammu against just one seat in Kashmir. The BJP is weak here, despite Kashmir having a higher population.

Now, after the commission — headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge — has released a fresh draft, political parties are claiming it is again meant to favour the BJP.

Citing examples, political parties said Kishtwar district had two Muslim-majority assembly seats. Now, under the draft proposal, three seats have been allotted to the district — two of them carved out of Hindu-majority areas.

Similarly, Doda district had two Muslim-majority seats. The proposal suggests three seats, two of them in Hindu-majority areas.

Political parties allege that the electoral representation of Muslims in the Jammu province has also drastically reduced under the new proposal. From 13 Muslim majority assembly seats, the region will have just 10 seats.  

The mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir have alleged political bias, and say they will reject these proposals.

“The delimitation exercise is done for furtherance of BJP agenda,” said former Chief Minister and People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti.

“The Commission has shown no regard to law and constitution. Particularly, the majority community — be it in Rajouri, Kashmir or Chenab Valley — have been disempowered. In a sense they have been disenfranchised,” she added.

The five MPs — three of National Conference and two from the BJP, who are associate members of the Delimitation Commission — will respond to the report before February 14. But their recommendations are not binding on the commission.

In Kashmir Valley, the only seat with a significant Kashmiri Pandit electorate –Habakadal in Srinagar — has disappeared, with the electorate being divided into different seats. ¬†

“With the abolition/dissolution of Habakadal segment, they have disempowered Kashmiri Pandits further and chances of electing any Pandit from there has gone forever,” said Mohit Bhan, one of the local leaders.

The BJP has rejected the allegations.

“After the delimitation, the National Conference and the PDP are shouting because their fiefdom and their dynastic politics is over,” said senior leader Yudhvir Sethi.



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