Ground Report | New Delhi: 7 assembly seats will be increased; The Delimitation Commission has said that the delimitation will be done based on the 2011 census. However, it said that population is the main criterion, and various other factors such as geography and topography have to be considered.
Addressing the media, Chief Election Commissioner of India Sushil Chandra said that 24 seats in PoK will remain vacant and will not be included in this delimitation. He further said that the first Full Delimitation Commission was constituted in 1981, which submitted its recommendation after 14 years in 1995.
7 assembly seats will be increased
Seven assembly seats will increase after delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir. After this, instead of 83 seats in the assembly, there will be 90 seats. This entire process will be completed by March 2022.
The Delimitation Commission in which Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra was also present. Sushil Chandra said on the delimitation that the delimitation will be done on the basis of the 2011 census.
The commission, however, said that the process would be completed in a very transparent manner and the draft prepared by it would be placed in the public domain for objections and questions, followed by the commission’s colleagues to prepare the final draft. Members will also be consulted.
However, the members of the commission indicated to give due representation to the people belonging to Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes groups in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the newly constituted Assembly.
Sushil Chander said: “In the last four days, the Commission met 290. Groups in Srinagar, Pahalgam, Kishtwar, and Jammu. There was an overwhelming response and people came from far and wide to meet us. We listened patiently to every delegation.” He added that the delimitation process “is a very complex issue in J&K and not just a theoretical one.”
He said that he met leaders of political parties and civil society groups, lawyers, individuals, tribals, leaders of local bodies, and NGOs.
“It was based on the 1981 census. Thereafter, there has been no delimitation,” he said. Chandra said there is overlapping of districts and tehsils in constituencies, adding that the public faced inconvenience due to such discrepancies. The CEC said that the final draft would be prepared to keep in view all the demands and recommendations.
“A draft will be prepared and placed in the public domain for their comments. After looking at all the comments, the final draft (on the delimitation exercise) will be prepared,” he said.
Chander said that the J&K officials provided him with the last available Census-2011, details of Patwar Halka and district areas, population figures, etc. “In the last census conducted in 2001, there were only 12 districts and now the number of districts has gone up to 12. Similarly, there were only 58 tehsils, which are 270 at present. We can see that there is a huge administrative overlap of Patwar circles due to which people are facing huge inconvenience,” he said.
Mehbooba alleged delimitation pre-planned
To a question, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti alleged that the delimitation was already a pre-planned exercise and the final report was already ready, the commission chief retired. Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said she assures that the exercise will be transparent in nature and there should be no fear and doubt. Asked how he views the PDP chief’s decision to boycott the meeting with the commission, the commission chief said: “We can only talk to those who want to participate in the process. People who don’t want to keep their choices.”
While the BJP demanded a fair share for Jammu, the Congress, the National Conference, and the Left called for the restoration of statehood. In its memorandum to the Delimitation Commission, the Grand Old Party said that until full statehood is restored, it will be pointless to conduct the delimitation exercise in J&K.
It states that statehood is essential for the restoration of the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir. JK BJP President Ravinder Raina demanded unfreezing of 24 assembly seats falling in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to give reservations to displaced people from PoK, Kashmir Pandits, SC, and ST.