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J&K’s Delimitation: Yet to take final call on NC’s participation in process, says Farooq Abdullah

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Srinagar: National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah Friday said that the party hasn’t taken any decision on participating in the delimitation exercise in J&K and that the final call will be taken after thorough consultations with the party leaders in the days ahead.

NC has not decided anything yet on its participation in the delimitation exercise. “We will sit and discuss the issue threadbare and accordingly final call will be taken in the days ahead,” news agency KNO quoted Abdullah as saying.

Earlier, media reports suggested that NC may plunge into the delimitation exercise as majority of its leaders, during the recently held Central Working Committee (CWC) meet, had seriously advocated “active participation in the process to ensure no injustice is done with Kashmir”.

“So far we have stayed away from the exercise but there are some strong voices within the party that advocate active participation in the delimitation exercise to ensure no injustice with the Kashmir Valley,” sources within the party say.

Interestingly, from the NC camp, MPs Farooq Abdullah and Justice Hasnain Masoodi have been nominated as the members of the delimitation panel, however, the party had decided to stay away from the exercise.

From the BJP, MoS in PMO Dr Jitendera Singh and MP Jugal Kishore are the members of the panel.

NC didn’t participate in the first meeting of the delimitation panel called by its chairman Justice (Rtd.) Ranjana Prakash Desai in February this year.

Many NC leaders are of the belief that the party should participate in the delimitation process to ensure BJP doesn’t resort to any sort of injustice with Kashmir by advocating more Assembly seats for Jammu, sources say.

“We have put forth our views before the party chief Farooq Sahib and vice-president Omar Abdullah. However, there is a need for broader consultation on the subject before the party announces final decision,” the news agency quoted a senior NC leader, who was present in the party’s CWC meeting, as saying.

In March this year, the Delimitation Commission, mandated to redraw Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, was given a one-year extension.

The commission was constituted in 2019, however, it couldn’t meet due to “unfeasible situation”.

Before Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act in August 2019, the effective strength of the J&K was 87, including four seats from Ladakh, which is now a separate Union Territory without a legislature. The strength of the realigned Jammu and Kashmir Assembly is 107 now, with 24 seats to continue to remain vacant as those fall in Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK).

Earlier, in a letter to the chairman of the commission, the NC MPs, including Farooq Abdullah, had stated, “In our view, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 is palpably unconstitutional and has been enacted in disregard and violation of the mandate and the spirit of the Constitution of India and therefore, not to be acted upon.”  (With KNO inputs)

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