NC May End Its Boycott To Delimitation Panel

SRINAGAR: If the Thursday virtual Working Committee meeting is any indication then the National Conference may end boycott to the Delimitation Commission, party sources said.

Meeting of delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, February 18, 2021.

During the marathon, six-hour meeting – the first virtual meeting of the NC, the party leaders asked the participants about the party’s continued boycott to the delimitation panel. Insiders said an overwhelming majority said the party must end the boycott and participate in its deliberations. They said that the NC boycott is making the Commission listen to BJP viewpoint alone.

“I think 98 per cent of the participants supported the return of the party to the panel so that Jammu and Kashmir’s position is properly articulated,” one leader, who was part of the meeting, said. Another leader said it is being formally announced soon. However, the party did not reveal anything about it in the statement issued after the long virtual meeting. Almost 80 leaders of the party from Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir attended the meeting.

Dr Abdullah said he will set up a committee on this before taking a final decesion.

National Conference had informed the panel in black and white that it will not be attending the proceedings. All the three NC members had been invited to the panel’s only meeting that took place in February but they boycotted unlike the two BJP members from Jammu.

National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Monday, March 22, 2021, chairing Provincial review meeting of the Party’s Parent, YNC, Women’s Wing, and segment in charges here at party headquarters. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

The commission, chaired by Justice (retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, however, met two of the five associate members to seek their suggestions on the process of delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir, a statement said. Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and Jammu and Kashmir State Election Commissioner KK Sharma are the ex-officio members of the Commission.

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NC had written to Justice Desai saying that they would not attend the meeting as the delimitation exercise was being conducted under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, whose legality is under challenge. They said the Act was “palpably unconstitutional” and had been enacted in “disregard and violation” of the mandate and spirit of the Constitution.

The party had decided on May 29, 2020, that it will boycott the delimitation exercise following its three MPs being nominated as associated members to the commission. “This delimitation commission is a product of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, which the NC is challenging in and outside the Hon’ble SC,” the party said in a statement. “Participating in this delimitation commission will be tantamount to accepting the events of August 5, 2019, which the NC is unwilling to do.”

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