New Delhi: As the Delimitation Commission interacted with members of seven registered political parties of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday (July 6), the Mehbooba Mufti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stayed away from the meeting. The commission, comprising Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra, and Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan, is on a four-day visit to the Union Territory tasked with the aim to carve out new constituencies. 

On Tuesday, in a letter to the Delimitation Commission chairperson Justice Desai, PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura shunned the meeting and said that his party will stay away from this exercise as they believe it may further “hurt the interests of our people.” 

“Our party has decided to stay away from this process and not be part of some exercise, the outcome which is widely believed to be pre-planned and which may further hurt the interests of our people,” ANI cited PDP’s letter as saying.

Attacking the Centre, Hanjura wrote that the government has “continued with its daily dictates to the people of J-K including the recent amendments and orders including those making every person a suspect (Government employees antecedents verification order) and deepening the divide between two regions of J-K (the order related to Darbar move).” 

Mufti was among the J&K leaders to attend the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the national capital on June 24. PDP said that despite suggesting “confidence-building measures”, the party is disappointed to see that “nothing has moved and no effort has been made to bring ease into the lives of people”. 

“In the meeting, we emphasised the need to reach out to the people of J-K and suggested specific confidence-building measures that could lead to breaking the ice in the process of addressing the massive trust deficit between New Delhi and J-K,” and added that PDP was disappointed to see that “nothing has moved and no effort has been made to bring ease into the lives of people, giving credence to those, who had in the first instance, called the meeting a mere photo opportunity.”

Further, PDP questioned the autonomy of the Commission and said, “Delimitation Commission lacks constitutional and legal mandate in the first place and its very existence and objectives have left every ordinary resident of J-K with many questions. There are apprehensions that the delimitation exercise is part of the overall process of political disempowerment of the people of J-K that the Government of India has embarked on.”

“There are apprehensions that the process is aimed at realising the political vision of a particular political party in J-K wherein, like other things, the views and wishes of the people of J-K would be considered the least. It is a widespread belief that contours and outcome of the exercise are pre-planned. The very intent is under question,” the letter added. 

Meanwhile, as per ANI sources, the members of each political party handed over a separate memorandum to the commission on Tuesday. The Commission is in Jammu and Kashmir till July 9 to interact with union territory administrative officials, political parties and public representatives.

(With agency inputs)

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