Kashmir Indepth
Kashmir

Is Delimitation possible?

 Ishtyaq Ahmad 

Srinagar, June 11 : Amid the clamor that Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) is mulling to go for the delimitation of Assembly seats to pave way for their own chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference that managed a clean sweep in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections in Kashmir believes that till 2026 there can be no delimitation in the State.
The party states that in 2001 a resolution with the unanimous consensus and with the two-third majority law banning the delimitation in the state till 2026 was passed.
The NC’s assertions comes at a time when rumour mills are rife that the new dispensation at Centre led by Prime Minister Narendera Modi and especially the Union Home Minister Amit Shah has delimitation for J&K on top its agenda. According to sources MHA led by Shah have hinted that J&K may witness the delimitation of Assembly seats and the political observers believe that the move is aimed to grab maximum seats in Jammu and to stake claim for a government with a Chief Minister from Jammu region alone.
“There is a lot of discrimination as far as distribution of Assembly seats at present is concerned,” BJP’s State Spokesman Altaf Thakur tolD. “Jammu region has 29 lakh voters and Kashmir has 31 but still Kashmir has 47 seats and Jammu less in the total 87 member State Legislature. Isn’t it discrimination? So BJP’s stand for delimitation of assembly is crystal clear. We want disparity in Assembly seat distribution to end and for that delimitation is a must,” Thakur said..
He said that reports that BJP was for installing a Hindu Chief Minister were not true. “Our sole aim is that all regions must get equal share of seats in the Assembly. We are not satisfied with the present set up,” he said. Thakur said that the present seat arrangement has always benefited the parties like National Conference and the Congress and also the PDP as they have always filled their own coffers by grabbing power.
On the contrary, the National Conference General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar termed the BJPs’ plans of going for delimitation as “jingoism.” “How is delimitation possible when the then NC led regime in 2001 has passed a resolution with two-third majority calling for ban on delimitation till 2026. If BJP still wants to do it they have to first consult the Cabinet at the Centre, then the State Legislature, which is not in place and then go for it. How can this happen,” Sagar told.
He said NC will tooth and nail oppose any move aimed at delimitation of seats till 2026. “When the delimitation resolution was passed in JK State Assembly, similar resolutions were passed across India,” Sagar said.
What remains to be seen is whether the Union Home Minister who is scheduled to visit Kashmir next week, will touch the top to trigger a political debate or skip it. Sources said that the MHA has set its agenda and will seriously work on it in the years ahead the “its agenda has rolling back of article 35 A, debate on Article 370 and going for delimitation on top of its agenda.”

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