To increase number tally; BJP eyeing on 8 reserved seats of PoK
Jammu: Soon, after the landslide victory of BJP in General Election, PoK refugees of 1947, 65 and 71 demanded restoration of 8 frozen seats in Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. 15 lakh PoK refugees have been demanding political reservation in State Assembly as they say that 24 frozen seats are lying vacant in J&K State Legislative Assembly and out of these, 1/3rd i.e. 8 seats must be restored so that PoK refugees can elect their representatives to raise up voice on their behalf in the house.
Some days ago, BJP also batted for granting 8 reserved seats to the displaced people from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). It also mentioned that much awaited justice must be provided to PoK refugees by providing them their legal and constitutional rights.
Earlier, some months ago, former Chief Election Commissioner, Om Parkash Rawat has already sought comment of Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice and J&K Government over the restoration of 1/3rd i.e. 8 seats out of 24 frozen seats that is lying vacant in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. It is quite pertinent to mention that various PoK refugees bodies have been raising their voice for the same in the State as well as outside at every juncture for a quite long time.
The quite interesting development that has become talks of town and brought the attention of political pundits towards BJP’s keen interest by raising the issue of restoring 8 seats to PoK refugees. Some intellectual class that keeps hawk eye on J&K’s politics opined that BJP is eyeing on upcoming State Assembly elections as in 2014, BJP managed to get 25 out of 37 Assembly seats. If it succeeds in restoring 8 reserved seats the number will go up to 45. One more interesting factor behind BJP’s bid to revive frozen seats is that the majority of PoK refugees are Hindus and Sikhs and it can be proved a strong vote bank for the party. The morale of BJP leadership is touching sky as BJP has registered unprecedented victory in General Elections. If sources are to be believed, Saffron party that has already been filled with confidence wants to increase its number tally in upcoming Assembly polls, and it will field only PoK refugees candidates. Other hand, PoK refugees have been demanding political accommodation in state politics that was absent and if it happens to be a reality, then it will be a win-win situation for both.
By not holding elections for a particular constituency and keeping it vacant, they are not just being deprived innocent PoK refugees of their rights, but failing to discharge their lawful duties as envisage under “The Representative of People Act” and additional corresponding relevant laws.
“Election Commission of India (ECI) is a self-governing constitutional authority and it has played a basic role in the evolution of Indian democracy and conducted elections in extreme and volatile circumstances successfully and fairly on a number of occasions. PoK DPs always wanted to exercise their franchisee, but they have been prevented from using their constitutional right and kept deprived since long, which is offensive to the constitutional philosophy”, refugee leader told u4uvoice.
He further added that now, a major political party has come forward and has sought restoration, this is a welcome step. But, we are concerned too as PoK refugees have been exploiting by one or other parties during election season for a long time. “We hope that this time, we won’t be deceived and we will be given our much awaited rights and healing touch for which they have been waiting since 1947”, he said.