Gupkar alliance meets in Srinagar

National Conference softens stands on the delimitation commission

Jammu & Kashmir’s political parties associated with the Gupkar alliance, an amalgam fighting for the pre-August 5, 2019 position, met for the first time in six months on Wednesday, in the wake of a softening of the National Conference’s (NC) position on the delimitation commission.

All constituents, including the NC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the J&K Peoples Movement and the Awami National Conference, attended the meeting chaired by the alliance’s president Dr. Farooq Abdullah at the official residence of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti at Srinagar’s Gupkar Road.

The meeting was held in the backdrop of reports of growing differences within alliance partners, which contested the District Development Council polls together in December 2020, and emerged as the single largest grouping in the Union Territory.

Reflecting a softening of position and readiness to engage, Dr. Abdullah said the amalgam had “not closed any door”. “If we are invited, we will look into it for the betterment of people,” Dr. Abdullah said, in a veiled reference to the Centre.

Sources said the issue of being a part of the delimitation commission, which is working to carve out more constituencies in the Union Territory ahead of the Assembly polls, was also discussed.

“We have approached the Supreme Court on the delimitation commission [with certain concerns]. Let the commission, which is headed by a retired judge, reply to [our position]. Then we will take a call,” he added.

Of late, the NC has dropped feelers that it’s ready to be a part of the delimitation commission. Earlier, the NC boycotted meetings held by the commission in Delhi.

Meanwhile, Dr. Abdullah, also a Member of Parliament from Srinagar, accused the police of being “oppressive against people”. “People are being harassed and arrested randomly. This should stop. Even children are being picked up. The road that leads to our house too is closed without any reason,” Dr. Abdullah said.

On the rumours that the Centre was effecting more changes in J&K, Dr. Abdullah said, “We also hear these rumours. We have held on to the rope of hope. We pray only good happens to our people now.”

CPI(M) leader M.Y. Tarigami, who has replaced Sajad Lone as the alliance’s official spokesperson, said all the parties in the amalgam were with every region, including Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

“People have suffered and stood together. We will use every opportunity, even the weakest one, to resist for our people. We are on the side of the people,” Mr. Tarigami said.

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