National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said his party will contest elections whenever they are held in Jammu and Kashmir but remained critical of the ongoing delimitation exercise. He was speaking after the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), comprising five mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, met at his residence here to discuss the fallout of the draft recommendations of the Delimitation Commission. "We will fight the elections, there is no doubt about it. We are not going to run away from it but these (draft recommendation of delimitation commission) are the things which pain us," Abdullah told reporters. He reiterated his charge that the exercise was done to benefit the BJP with the ultimate aim of legitimising the revocation of Article 370 by the Centre in 2019.
After the meeting, PAGD spokesman M Y Tarigami said they were not against delimitation as it was due in 2026, but added the ongoing exercise is "'unconstitutional" as it is being done under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act which has been challenged in the Supreme Court by the constituent of the alliance. "Our stand is that what happened on August 5 and 6, 2019 in Parliament was unconstitutional," Tarigami said referring to abrogation of Article 370 and the reorganisation of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State into two Union territories. Abdullah, who heads the PAGD, said the BJP was hoping that it can win the maximum number of seats in the assembly after the delimitation. "They want to pass a resolution in the assembly that whatever they did in August 2019 has been accepted. I am sure they will then take it to Supreme Court and say it has been done. "Otherwise, what was the need for a Delimitation Commission here when it was agreed that the entire country would undergo the exercise in 2026? Why was Jammu and Kashmir targeted?" he said.
The former chief minister said the elections are the basis of democracy and the ''first thing in that democratic situation is the delimitation commission's report''. "What they (delimitation commission) have done is very unfortunate... Look what they have done, one constituency I will tell you about is Anantnag. How is the member of parliament elected from Rajouri going to look after the areas on this side in Anantnag or how is the MP elected from Anantnag going to look after the areas in Poonch and Rajouri. This is just one instance," he said. Abdullah questioned the claims that the delimitation exercise was aiemed at bringing the people together and carve out constituencies in such a manner that it's easy for the people to have their cases projected. "It does not seem that the Delimitation Commission has done that. It has further alienated the people," he alleged.