By Sheikh Qayoom
Srinagar, June 30 (IANS) The meeting of the Jammu and Kashmir delimitation commission being held on Wednesday after the all party meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, assumes special significance.
During the all party meeting, despite differences over issues like restoration of statehood before the assembly election and the release/shifting of prisoners, there was unanimity among participants that J&K should have an elected government sooner than later.
Modi assured the participants that the delimitation commission would be asked to speed up its process so that elected representatives are able to run the affairs of J&K.
Union home minister, Amit Shah, who also attended the all party meeting, stressed the importance of all the mainstream and regional political parties joining the deliberations of the delimitation commission.
The regional, Valley centric parties like the National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peoples Conference (PC), JK Apni Party and others had expressed doubts about the delimitation commission dealing both regions of J&K an even deal.
Leaders of the regional parties in the Valley have voiced fears that the delimitation commission would favour allotment of more assembly seats to Jammu region while recommending that some of the existing seats in the Valley should be reserved for scheduled caste, Kashmiri Pandits, Paharis etc.
The refrain of these parties has been that this was intended to shift the balance of power to the Jammu division.
At present, the Valley has 46 and Jammu division 37 seats in the J&K assembly.
Before the division of J&K into two union territories, the assembly had 87 seats, 4 belonging to the Ladakh region which is no longer part of J&K union territory.
The chairman of the commission Justice (Retired) Ranjana Desai has invited representatives of all mainstream and regional political parties of J&K to today’s meeting.
Instead of cribbing on the sidelines of the commission’s meeting, the best course to protect the interests of their constituencies for the regional political parties would be to attend the meeting and put forth their views backed with statistics.
The PDP headed by former chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti has said that her party will not attend the deliberations of the commission because it does not have any elected member either in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha while the J&K assembly stands already dissolved.
The PDP decision to stay away is at best am escapist attitude which does not justify the party’s public posturing that the commission would give the Valley a left handed deal.
It is hoped that all other regional parties like the NC, PC, Apni Party, J&K National Panthers Party and the mainstream parties like the BJP, Congress, CPI-M and others attend today’s meeting to prove that thaw has set in on the political horizon of J&KAfter all, no political party, mainstream or regional, can claim to be an advocate of an elected government in J&K while staying away from the first constitutional milestone towards the formation of a representative government.
By Sheikh Qayoom