Srinagar, June 28 (KINS): As the political activities gain momentum in Jammu and Kashmir, the Delimitation Commission is looking to increase the pace towards redrawing the constituencies for the union territory.
Sources told news agency KINS that the delimitation commission will hold a meeting with political parties in J&K soon to discuss the delimitation process. Apart from the state-level leaders, the five MPs from J&K will also be involved in the discussions during the next round of talks.
The commission has time till March 6, 2022 to complete the delimitation process.
Besides this, the Election Commission will do a special summary revision of electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir before polls can be scheduled.
Sources within the commission told news agency KINS that the commission was told to complete the delimitation process in one year, but due to covid pandemic the process could not be completed. “However now the work has begun in full swing to ensure timely completion of the process”, the sources added.
Sources said that the objective of the delimitation commission is to redraw boundaries of assembly constituencies in a way so that the population of all seats is numerically similar throughout the state. “Besides changing the limits of a constituency, the process may result in a change in the number of problems faced by the administration, ways to facilitate dialogue and current political scenarios” sources maintained.
The commission has sought detailed data on demographics from the district commissioners.
It is to mention here that a day before Prime Minister
Modi’s all party meeting with leaders from J&K, the delimitation commission held a meeting with deputy commissioners (DCs) of all 20 districts in J&K.
In the meeting chaired by Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan, the DCs were asked about people’s aspirations, the problems faced by the administration, ways to facilitate dialogue and current political scenario.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day address had said that “we are committed to holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir once the delimitation exercise is complete”.
The Delimitation Commission has been set up to redraw the boundaries of the electoral constituencies for J&K, Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, the number of seats in the legislative assembly will increase to 114 from 107, with due reservations for SC and ST communities. The seven additional seats are expected to be ST seats.
Chaired by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, the commission has held several meetings so far.
Five Lok Sabha members from J & K, three from the National Conference and two from BJP were nominated as associate members to the commission.
Election commissioner Chandra had already said that the delimitation process will consider every view and representation made and hold meetings with the associate members.
“Once we have the basic structure ready for delimitation and that will be soon, we will be calling a meeting of the associate members for their suggestions. We are also getting many representations from local people which are also being noted down and taken into consideration,” he had said.
Sources said that so far all the data have been obtained from the census commissioner 2011 for J&K and 2001 for the other four states.
This is done to ascertain that the constituency to be delimited is geographically contiguous and compact, and that the last administrative unit a block, taluka or tehsil is not split in an assembly constituency. Also, no assembly constituency should be split between two parliamentary constituencies.
Meanwhile, the delimitation commission has asked all deputy commissioners to share data pertaining to electorates and other compositions in their districts.
The delimitation commission headed by Retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai was constituted on March 6, 2020 for a period of one year to delimit the constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.
On March 4, the Union ministry of law and justice issued a notification extending the tenure of the commission by one year. The commission’s term was coming to end on March 5, 2021.
In the absence of the Legislative Assembly, the NC and BJP Lok Sabha members were nominated as associate members of the Delimitation Commission without having any voting rights.
Since the population of Kashmir Valley is higher than Jammu, Jammu politicians have been long insisting that instead of population, geography should be made criteria. Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act says that the number of seats in the Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir would be increased from 107 to 114 including 24 seats which are reserved for Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) while the election will be held for 90 seats.
Before August 5, 2019, the State of Jammu and Kashmir had 111 seats including 24 reserved for PoK, and elections were held for 87 seats. With the creation of Ladakh as Union Territory, four seats of the region were reduced and the Assembly was left with 83 seats. In the previous Assembly, Kashmir had 46 seats, Jammu 37, and Ladakh four.(KINS)