Srinagar ,November 04, National Conference on Friday said PDP must explain its motive behind the PDP-BJP Government’s clear push towards delimitation and reorganization of Assembly constituencies in the State, as has been reported in the media. Senior NC Leaders including Party General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, Abdul Rahim Rather, Mohammad Shafi Uri, Chaudhary Mohammad Ramzan and Mian Altaf Ahmed – in a joint statement issued from National Conference Headquarters in Srinagar – have said this was a dangerous covert attempt to manipulate the electoral landscape of the State and would vitiate communal and regional harmony in J&K.
“The PDP-BJP Government’s decision to ask the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department to ‘formulate an appropriate response for addressing the issue of constituting a delimitation commission and also examine the possibility of rationalizing the Legislative Assembly constituencies’ raises some very disconcerting doubts and apprehensions”, the Senior NC Leaders said.
“While national parties have traditionally supported the constitution of a delimitation commission and reorganizing assembly constituencies in the State, it is pertinent to remember that PDP had also supported the constitution of a delimitation commission in its CMP with the Indian National Congress in 2002. Now in an alliance with the BJP, PDP is yet again seemingly very keen to violate the State’s sensitive interests in order to suit BJP’s agenda of manipulating the electoral landscape and disturbing the fragile political balance in J&K. Both parties are interested in disrupting communal and regional harmony and in pitting one region against the other. This is an extremely dangerous indication and needs to be taken very seriously by all stakeholders”, the party statement added.
The Senior NC Leaders said the PDP-BJP Government cannot hide its political motives and nefarious designs behind the Law and Parliamentary Affairs Department or the Chief Secretary in an attempt to somehow desperately circumvent the clear and inviolable restriction on delimitation of Assembly Constituencies till 2026 – which was brought into force after a Bill for this purpose was brought in the Legislative Assembly by the NC Government in April 2002 – and passed unanimously. “The amendment was brought in section 47, sub-section 3 of the State’s Constitution with its proviso saying explicitly it shall not be necessary to readjust the seats till 2026. The amendment has been brought into the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act – 1957 as well which governs the election process in the State. We are sure the leadership of both PDP and BJP as well as the Chief Minister – are all aware of this reality and know that they would have to bring in a Bill into the Assembly proposing an amendment to the State’s Constitution in order to remove the restriction on delimitation till 2026. This then brings us to the important question – what are PDP’s actual motives in pushing for the constitution of a delimitation commission and seeking a report for reorganization of Assembly Constituencies?”, the statement further said.
The NC Leaders said this move could either be a diversionary tactic to divert focus from the PDP-BJP Government’s shocking failure in dealing with the current political situation in the State or could be an even more malicious and dangerous attempt to sow seeds of discord and animosity at the regional level and between various communities of the State – dividends of which could be reaped by the BJP.
“While any delimitation exercise is impossible till 2026 unless the State’s constitution is amended, any effort to readjust the territoriallimits of the existing constituencies and re-location of reserved constituencies is also legally impossible without the constitution of a delimitation commission. In disposing off a PIL in 2010, the Supreme Court too upheld the freeze in the delimitation process put in place by the J&K Legislative Assembly through a constitutional amendment in 2002. The State’s Constitution cannot be amendment by an executive order either – so whatever the PDP-BJP Government is trying to do is clearly based on some pre-planned extra-constitutional means and politically divisive goals – something that could could spread disharmony and perpetuate chaos in the State”, the Senior NC Leaders added in the Statement.
The NC Leaders questioned the move of the PDP-BJP Alliance to pursue only this particular goal of its ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ while it had disregarded all other promises with contempt. “The promise of facilitating talks between New Delhi and stakeholders in Kashmir, that of facilitating a dialogue between New Delhi and Islamabad and of seeking the return of power projects from NHPC – all promises made in the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ have been abandoned. However, both alliance partners are serious about the constitution of a delimitation commission and this seems to be one particular goal they are more than willing to pursue – even at the clear and apparent risk of committing constitutional impropriety. This exposes the political opportunism and divisiveness that guides this Government’s thinking and functioning”, the Senior NC Leaders added.
“National Conference will not allow the PDP-BJP Alliance to manipulate the State’s delicate electoral landscape and political balance and will oppose all such machinations”, the statement said.