Valley-based mainstream political parties on Monday expressed dismay over the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission in Jammu and Kashmir, alleging that it seems the exercise was carried out in furtherance of the BJP’s political agenda.
The Delimitation Commission, set up to redraw the assembly seats of the union territory, is learnt to have proposed six additional seats for Jammu region and one for Kashmir Valley in its 'Paper 1' discussed with its five associate members on Monday.
"The draft recommendation of the J&K delimitation commission is unacceptable. The distribution of newly created assembly constituencies with 6 going to Jammu & only 1 to Kashmir is not justified by the data of the 2011 census," National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said in a series of tweets.
He said the commission appears to have allowed the political agenda of BJP to dictate its recommendations.
"It is deeply disappointing that the commission appears to have allowed the political agenda of the BJP to dictate its recommendations rather than the data which should have been its only consideration. Contrary to the promised “scientific approach” it's a political approach," Abdullah said.
People’s Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Gani Lone said the recommendations "reek of bias".
"The recommendations of the delimitation commission are totally unacceptable. They reek of bias. What a shock for those who believe in democracy," Lone said in a tweet.
PDP spokesman Suhail Bukhari said the reported recommendations of the commission vindicated the apprehension of his party that the exercise was carried out in furtherance of the BJP agenda.
“PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has from day one maintained that this Commission has been set for fulfilling the political agenda of the BJP. We have heard that the commission has recommended increasing six seats in Jammu region and one in the valley. It cannot be justified in any manner," Bukhari said.
He said the PDP and people of Jammu and Kashmir will not accept these recommendations and fight them tooth and nail.
The commission’s associate members -- five Lok Sabha members from Jammu and Kashmir -- attended the meeting on Monday. They have been asked to respond to the proposal by the end of this month.
Union minister Jitendra Singh and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah were among those who attended the meeting.
Sources said nine seats have been proposed for STs and seven for SCs in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the first time that seats have been proposed for STs in the UT, they said.
The Delimitation Commission is headed by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai. Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra is an ex-officio member of the panel.