What pushing delimitation does to talks on peace and statehood in J&K

Source: Indian Express

Synopsis: The Centre is making serious efforts to restore democracy in J&K but there is no clarity over statehood for J & K.

Background:

The Gupkar alliance is in news since 2020, Home Minister tweeted, the Congress and the Gupkar Gang want to take J&K back to the era of terror and turmoil. Also, he stated that the Gupkar Gang is going global. They want foreign forces to intervene in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

However, now this alliance is part of a dialogue. Gupkar alliance is an electoral alliance between the several regional political parties in Jammu and Kashmir. On the other hand, Congress has insisted that statehood must first be restored and elections to the assembly held thereafter.

Why Gupkar alliance is part of the peace process now?
  • Firstly, many experts say that the government has been nudged into reaching out since guns are silent along the Indo-Pak border.
  • Secondly, the government’s back-channel diplomacy is part of a larger game plan.
    • To bringing back democracy in J&K.
    • To send a message to the world that the abrogation of Article 370 was not intended to throttle democracy but to ensure peace in a region.
  • Thirdly, the government is trying to send a message that it is willing to have a dialogue even with those who were outcasted since the abrogation of Article 370.
What could be the possible suggestion by for J & K?
  • First, Delhi model of an assembly with almost absolute powers in the hands of a lieutenant-governor.
    • However, it is unlikely that the leaders of the Gupkar Alliance would want to be subjected to the near-absolute will of the lieutenant governor.
    • And, when elections are held and all parties in the Gupkar Alliance participate in that process, the outcome will be an uneasy relationship between the lieutenant governor and the assembly.
  • Second, to delimit constituencies and hold elections to the assembly.
    • Based on the census of 2011, this exercise will re-determine not just the boundaries of the constituencies but also the number of seats in the assembly, which are likely to increase pursuant to delimitation.
    • This exercise will generate some hostility.
    • While the rest of India will wait till 2026 for delimitation, this exercise in J&K will be regarded as an exception.
What are the key challenges that lie ahead?
  • Delimitation can sour the dialogue process: If the delimitation process takes place in a non-transparent manner to ensure that the ruling party’s political presence has greater chances of success, the confidence sought to be built will be eroded.
  • No clarity on statehood: The Prime Minister’s statement that the issue of statehood will be considered later without any timeline is an indication of the pitfalls.
    • Successful election and participation of Gupkar alliance will legitimize the restoration of democratic processes in J&K.
  • However, it is highly unlikely that statehood will be restored any time soon.

 That is why the road for statehood is not easy. Since the people of India were largely in favour of the abrogation of Article 370. Hence, The Supreme Court too is not likely to set aside the abrogation.

 

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