Demands initiation of political process, holding of assembly election in J&K
A delegation of Apni Party leaders led by Vice President Choudhary Zulfikar Ali today met the Members of Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (retired) Ranjana Desai here in Jammu.
The delegation includes General Secretary, Vikram Malhotra, Provincial President, Jammu, Manjit Singh, Vice President, Jammu Province, Syed Asgar Ali, and Ex-MLA Haji Mumtaz Ahmed Khan called on the Commission on behalf of the Party.
A detailed memorandum was presented to the Commission among other things. It was emphasized and stressed on the Commission that the delay in initiating the political process and conducting the elections in the Union Territory of J&K is a blot on the Indian democracy as the people of erstwhile State are being deprived of their right to franchise since 2018.
“J&K is being run by bureaucrats and bureaucracy. The bureaucracy may be performing well but, in any democracy, the bureaucracy cannot be the substitute of democracy,” the delegation informed the Commission Members.
The Apni Party delegation further emphasized on the Delimitation Commission to expedite the process of delimiting the assembly constituencies of the erstwhile State at a faster pace by involving all the stakeholders and open for a wider deliberation, and discussion by visiting the remote areas, tehsil headquarters, and district headquarters to understand the topography, geography and composition of the population in the erstwhile State before taking a final decision on delimiting the constituencies.
The delegation said “It is important to visit the far-flung areas viz Pirpanjal (Rajouri-Poonch), Ramban, Reasi, Ramnagar, Udhampur, Bani, Billawar and Basholi areas of Kathua District, and other remote areas of Kashmir Province.”
They further stressed upon the Delimitation Commission to enhance the number of seats as mandated in the Reorganization Act, 2019 on the basis of population as population being one of the criteria for enhancing the seats, and seats be provided to those districts which are underrepresented till now.
“The administrative units should be the districts for redrawing the Assembly Constituencies and minimum units should be patwar circles except where there are compulsions and constrained with the district and administrative units,” the delegation told the Commission during their meeting with them in Jammu.
It was further demanded by the delegation to create a Parliamentary seat for the Pirpanjal Region.
“In Jammu-Poonch Parliamentary segment, Rajouri-Poonch has 10 lakh population (which is remote border districts) and Jammu-Samba has 18.5 lakhs in comparison,” the delegation told the Commission and demanded creation of a Parliamentary seat for the Pirpanjal Region.
The delegation also requested the Commission to expedite the process of delimitation of assembly constituencies.
“There is a legal dictum by Lord Heward in 1924 “Justice must not only be done but must also be seen to be done.” And, there is a common legal maxim “Justice delayed is Justice denied”. The perception outside is that everything is already prepared and this exercise is mere for melody. But we do not believe it and expect a very transparent and fair exercise. As mandated in the Reorganization Act, 2019, population must be taken as criteria,” the Apni Party delegation said during their interaction with the Commission Members.
The delegation told the Commission Members that last time in 2019, the Election Commission visited J&K before Lok Sabha Elections.
“At that time, all political parties unanimously requested them to hold the elections with the Lok Sabha, but the voice was ignored. All the elections including Panchayat to Lok Sabha were held barring assembly elections in the Union Territory,” the deputation said.