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Altaf Bukhari flays BJP over Delimitation panel draft report, seeks PM intervention

🔴 Charging that that the Delimitation panel's draft recommendations have been framed to "suit only one political party", Bukhari also said his party was open for an alliance with other mainstream parties to "protect the rights of the people".

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
December 23, 2021 9:54:46 pm
Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party's founder Altaf Bukhari. (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

The Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party’s founder Altaf Bukhari on Thursday launched an attack on the BJP as he castigated the Delimitation Commission over its draft report proposing six additional Assembly seats in the Jammu region as against only one seat in Kashmir.

Charging that that the Delimitation panel’s draft recommendations have been framed to “suit only one political party”, Bukhari also said his party was open for an alliance with other mainstream parties to “protect the rights of the people”.

He announced that the Apni Party will hold a protest on December 29, two days before the proposed protest called by the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on the issue.

“Our party leaders will take out a peaceful march on 29 December while wearing black masks, which will signify that the voices of the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been silenced,” Bukhari told a press conference in Srinagar.

“This (Delimitation panel) report defeats the very idea of secular India,” Bukhari alleged. “The Commission has made a shameful attempt to pit Jammu against Kashmir but we will never allow these schemes to succeed”.

The Delimitation panel’s draft report has drawn sharp criticism from mainstream political parties of the Kashmir Valley. While terming it as “unacceptable”, they have accused the panel of allegedly becoming a tool for the BJP’s political agenda.

The Apni Party was founded following the abrogation of J&K’s special status in August 2019, and is seen by many in the Valley as the “BJP’s creation”. Its founder Altaf Bukhari was in fact the first political leader from the Valley to break the ice with the central government when he attended a foreign envoys meeting held by the Centre in October 2019.

Bukhari, however, struck a different note Thursday. “If the Delimitation Commission is working for a party, then that party is not working for the interests of the country,” he said.

“We know we will be told that it is a quasi-judicial Commission…But we think it is working under the instructions of BJP… BJP is not the sole custodian of the country,” he charged.

Seeking the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Bukhari said, “The Delimitation proposal essentially deviates from the procedures as mandated by the Constitution of India,” adding “We urge the Prime Minister and Home Minister to intervene in this matter of concern and ensure that the Commission report is based on facts and merit that resonate with scientific approach”.

He also said his party was open to forming an alliance for a common cause in the interest of the J&K people. “It is not time for party politics but to be seen together and united in demanding the peoples’ rights,” he said.

Later, when asked to elaborate on his comment that his party was open for an alliance, Bukhari told The Indian Express that he has been “misunderstood”. “I mean to say that we are ready to work together over this particular issue (the Delimitation panel’s draft report) so that people get justice. It shouldn’t be meant as an alliance with any party,” he said.

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