GR News Desk | New Delhi
The Union government has started the process of defining assembly constituencies in Kashmir after Article 370 was removed and converted into two union territories.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora has named his deputy Sushil Chandra as a nominee to a proposed Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir, a spokesperson for the poll panel said. This was based on a request by the Department of Legislative Affairs of the Ministry of Law and Justice. The panel is headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.
As per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which was passed by Parliament on August 5 last year and came into effect on October 31, the UT of J&K will have an Assembly, while Ladakh will not. The Act further said the number of seats in the Assembly of J&K would be increased from 107 to 114 after delimitation, on the basis of the 2011 Census.
Consistent with the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, the collection of seats within the Legislative Meeting is to extend from 107 to 114 with due reservations for SC and STs.
Kashmir to get more seats
As per Section 62(2) of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, any delimitation exercise would have to be conducted as per the “Census held in the year 2011”. At that time, Jammu and Kashmir had 68.31 per cent Muslims and 28.44 per cent Hindu population.But more than religion, the bigger issue is the regional imbalance – of the total 1.25 crore population, Kashmir is home to 68.94 lakh people while Jammu has 53.50 lakh, people. As many as 17 of the 22 districts in Jammu and Kashmir are Muslim-majority.
In the previous 87-member House of undivided J&K, Kashmir had 46 legislators while the Jammu region had 37 MLAs. And, since any delimitation would have to be as per the 2011 Census, there won’t be much change in the composition of the new assembly.