NC shows change of heart on boycott of Delimitation Commission meetings in J&K

Express News Service
SRINAGAR: With National Conference MPs staying away from the delimitation exercise and boycotting the Delimitation Commission meetings, the party is now having a “change of heart” and a section in the party feels that the NC MPs should participate in the delimitation exercise to redraw parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in J&K.

The NC leaders have authorised party president and three-time former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to take a call on participation in delimitation exercise and attending the Delimitation Commission meetings.

A senior NC leader said during the party’s Central Working Committee (CWC), which was held in a virtual mode on Thursday, a section of the party leaders opined that the party MPs should not stay away from the delimitation exercise.

The three NC MPs — Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi – had not attended any of the meetings convened by Delimitation Commission to discuss the delimitation of parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in J&K.

The NC MPs had written to Delimitation Commission chairperson Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai saying they won’t attend the meetings of the commission as the delimitation exercise was being conducted under J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, the legality of which has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

Like other parties, NC has also termed Article 370 revocation and bifurcation of J&K state into two Union Territories as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

The NC leader said some party leaders during yesterday’s meeting felt that if the party MPs stay away from the Delimitation Commission meetings, then the field for manipulation would be left open for BJP.  

“Some leaders also opined that staying away from proceedings of Delimitation exercise by party MPs will hurt the interests of Kashmir and we should participate in the meetings,” he said.

The NC leader said after some party leaders talked in favour of participating in the delimitation exercise, the party has authorized president Farooq Abdullah to take a final call on whether to continue the boycott or join proceedings after consulting the senior party leaders.

The three NC MPs and two BJP MPs from J&K are associate members of the Delimitation Commission.

The centre had in March last year constituted the Delimitation Commission to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of J&K. The one-year-term of the commission was extended in March this year.

The five associate members (3 NC MPs and 2 BJP MPs) have got no say in the Delimitation Commission. The associate members cannot sign, have no veto power and neither their dissent nor disagreement can be recorded.