Mehbooba calls PDP meeting to decide whether to attend PM’s meet on JK

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NEW DELHI: A day after the government sent out informal messages to JK mainstream party leaders about a meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to chair on the UT on June 24, People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said she had called a meeting on Sunday to decide whether to participate.

Speaking to The Tribune, Mufti said she had so far received only an informal invitation for the meeting and a formal invite is expected on Saturday.

“Actually, so far I have been informed informally, may get the formal invitation today. I am holding our political affairs committee meeting on Sunday and will decide whether to participate or not,” she said amid indications that the meeting will bolster the ongoing delimitation exercise for the UT to lay the foundation for a future election.

The delimitation commission began its meeting in February this year.

The National Conference boycotted the proceedings saying it “won’t be in tune with the Constitution to attend a meeting called in exercise of a law whose constitutional validity is under the scrutiny”.

Constituted by the Union Law Ministry on March 6, 2020 under Section 3 of the Delimitation Act, 2002, the Delimitation Commission for J&K has the mandate to delimit the constituencies of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the provisions under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which bifurcated the state into union territories of J&K and Ladakh.

NC had challenged the validity of the JK Reorganisation Act in the Supreme Court.

The delimitation of J&K Assembly segments is essential to holding elections there. The last delimitation was held in 1994 and 1995 when seats were raised from 76 to 87.  Since 2002, the exercise has remained frozen.

Before the state was bifurcated, its Assembly had 111 seats, including the 24 reserved for PoK. After 2019, the Home Ministry increased seats in J&K Assembly to 114. Of these, elections are held on 90 seats.

Prior to bifurcation, elections were held on 87 seats (Kashmir 46, Jammu 37 and Ladakh 4). Once the UT of Ladakh was created four seats went to Ladakh and the number of seats in J&K for which elections are to be held was reduced to 83.

Seven seats were added to raise this number to 90.

In the last Parliament session the government had said elections in J-K would be held after the delimitation process concluded and the Election Commission decided on the poll schedule for the UT.

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