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NC gave free hand to BJP by distancing from delimitation exercise: Azad

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Srinagar: Former J&K chief minister and senior Congress leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad Monday said the participation of National Conference in Delimitation process would have given representation to people of Jammu and Kashmir in the exercise.

Local news agency KNS quoted Azad as saying that the NC leaders should have participated in the delimitation meeting — however, they choose to boycott it, which is not a “good thing”.

He said that the NC has three parliament members (MPs) and all of them were appointed as the members of the Delimitation Commission, which would have made “our case strong”, however, they choose to stay away.

Azad said that by participating in the meeting, they would have put forth their views and arguments strongly as they have the majority in the Delimitation Commission.

“Senior leader like Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is also part of the delimitation commission, would have made our case strong. But by not participating in the commission’s meeting, they gave free space to the BJP. Through their presence in the commission meetings they would have strongly opposed the BJP and put forth their arguments,” Azad said.

He said that it was not understood as to why the NC leaders stayed away from the meeting and by not participating in the meeting they have given a “freehand” to the BJP, which is not a “good thing.”

Interestingly, senior NC leader Justice (retd.) Hasnain Masoodi on Sunday said that the whole delimitation exercise was “illegal” for them.

“The whole exercise is illegal for us. We cannot make our suggestions there. This exercise is against the constitutional provisions of democracy. Our participation would have amounted to accepting the whole illegal exercise. We have a clear stand that the whole thing is illegal,” he said.

Pertinently, the NC leaders Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone, Hasnain Masoodi – who skipped the meeting that was held on Thursday last week, had informed the Delimitation Commission chairperson Justice (retd.) Ranjana Prakash Desai, in a letter that they would not participate in the exercise.

The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir held its first meeting on past Thursday to seek suggestion/views on the process.

Notably, the Centre constituted the Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir on March 06 last year to redraw Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies of the union territory under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which bifurcated the state into union territories of J&K and Ladakh.

The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir came into being on October 31, 2019, after the state was reorganised. (With KNS inputs)

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