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Citing Article 370 abrogation, NC rejects delimitation commission

Srinagar: Ending speculations, National Conference (NC) rejected the delimitation commission saying participation in the process tantamounts to accepting the events of August 5.

This follows the decision of Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla to nominate three NC MPs—Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone, and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi – as members of the Delimitation Commission on Thursday.

“The NC will not participate in the delimitation exercise”, said Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, chief spokesman of National Conference.

Later, the party issued a statement detailing the reasons for rejecting the commission.  “The Delimitation Commission is a product of the J&K Re-organization Act 2019 which NC is challenging in and outside the Supreme Court. Participating in the commission tantamount to accepting events of August 5, 2019, which NC is unwilling to do. National Conference, therefore, rejects this process and its three members of the parliament will not participate in it,” National Conference said in a statement

Invoking now abolished constitution of J&K, the NC said the constituencies of the erstwhile state were to be delimited in 2026 with the rest of the country.

 “The constituencies in the state were last delimited in the ‘90s. Thereafter the constitution of J&K was amended and all the regional parties — Congress and BJP voted for it. Under this amendment, the assembly seats were to be delimited with the rest of the country in 2026. Therefore the constitution of the delimitation commission is unwarranted,” the party said.

In February, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora named Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra as his nominee to the Delimitation Commission.  On March 6, the Centre appointed former Supreme Court judge, Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai as head of the Delimitation Commission.

Under the Reorganization Act, 2019, Union Territory of  J&K will have an Assembly while Ladakh will not. Under the Act, the number of seats in the J&K Assembly would be increased from 107 to 114 after delimitation.

According to the Delimitation Commission Act, 2002, the Delimitation Commission appointed by Centre has to have three members –serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court as the chairperson, and the Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioner nominated by the CEC and the State Election Commissioner as ex-officio members.