Amid sharp criticism of the draft report of the delimitation commission by various political parties, the J&K BJP suffered a major setback on Monday when over 200 of its workers tendered their resignation to register their protest against the proposed merger of Suchetgarh assembly constituency with RS Pura segment in Jammu district.
Those who tendered their resignation letter to J&K BJP general secretary (organisation) Ashok Kaul included chairperson of Suchetgarh block development council (BDC) Tarsaim Singh. He said, “The entire BJP unit in Suchetgarh, including block presidents, shakti kendra incharges, morcha activists, booth-level workers and kisan morcha workers have tendered resignation letters to Ashok Kaul.”
“We resigned from the party in protest against the delimitation commission’s proposed draft wherein Suchetgarh constituency, which was created in 1996 and has 75,000 voters, has been merged with RS Pura constituency,” he added.
Considered a bastion of the BJP, the party has thrice won the seat out of four elections held since 1996 from this border constituency.
“Wiping out our constituency completely will not be tolerated. We agree that they had do the exercise very cautiously, but it doesn’t mean that they would wipe out our constituency. This is sheer injustice,” Tarsaim said.
The Suchetgarh constituency lies within 5km radius of Indo-Pak International Border.
Another leader Kabal Singh said, “Our demand is to restore our constituency. We are not going to tolerate this. We just cannot understand what have they done with Suchetgarh.”
“We don’t accept the report. Our constituency has a vote bank of 75,000. If they can carve out Mata Vaishno Devi constituency for 70,000 votes, why not keep this constituency for 75,000 voters,” he added.
Among those who resigned were 83 polling booth incharges, 26 shakti kendra incharges and two Mandal incharges.
In the proposed draft report, Kalakote, Suchetgarh and Raipur Domana assembly segments have been removed and Inderwal assembly constituency has been renamed Mughal Maidaan.
Ashok Kaul, meanwhile, said, “They didn’t understand it properly. I have explained to them that this is a draft resolution and not a final document. All the associate members, including our MPs, will file their objections and they too can raise their objections before the commission.”
Kaul said that the constituency can be restored. “The panel had to delimit the constituencies while maintaining a ratio. The only difference is in name and it can be restored. The party workers can convey their point to the commission,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Panthers Party, which had four MLAs in the erstwhile assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, also held a protest against the draft report alleging that the BJP-led central government was dividing people on communal lines.
The delimitation commission, in its draft report, has proposed an overhaul of assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir triggering massive protests from all political parties in the UT.
Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, who heads the National Conference, had on Saturday slammed the draft report, saying it “defies any and all logic” and no political, social and administrative reason can justify the recommendations.
Won’t allow any attempt to divide J&K people: NC
Describing the delimitation commission draft report as “bizarre”, National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar on Monday said his party will not allow any attempt to divide the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing provincial functionaries, district presidents and constituency incharges of the Jammu division at a day-long meeting at the NC headquarters here, the former minister also termed the report as “sheer mockery” of the universally accepted and constitutionally established norms of peoples’ representation.
The NC leader expressed concern over what he called “repeated attempts of disempowering the people of Jammu and Kashmir by coming up with atrocious measures one after the other.” “First, the state was bifurcated and its status degraded as a Union Territory and thereafter the exercise for the delimitation was undertaken despite strong pleas of putting it on hold keeping in view the legal challenge in the apex court of the country against the decisions taken post August 5, 2019. The Centre, however, continued with its agenda to disempower Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Sagar said the National Conference is framing up a detailed response to the draft report which is patently against the “constitutional morality, constitutional propriety and constitutional values”.
He urged the rank and file of the party to meet the challenges posed to Jammu and Kashmir unitedly with fortitude and by maintaining the glorious ethos of the land of Sufis and Saints.
Sagar recalled how the National Conference has faced challenges for decades at the strength of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and region.
NC’s provincial president, Jammu, Rattan Lal Gupta also summarily rejected the draft report, saying that norms have been violated while carrying out the exercise.
“It appears the commission has not taken into consideration the topography and population while coming up with the draft report. Also, the concept of administrative units has been ignored and the constituencies carved out in such a way that would lead to confusion among the people,” he said.
He said parts of the prevailing constituencies have been detached and attached with the other constituencies, thus coming under different administrative units.
Gupta also expressed surprise over “wiping out of several assembly constituencies from the political map of Jammu and Kashmir”.
“Same has been the case with merging assembly constituencies of the two provinces into a single Lok Sabha Constituency which sans reason and logic,” he said.
The two leaders exhorted the National Conference cadre to remain steadfast in their resolve to seek justice for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.