Begins maiden 4-day visit to J&K from July 6
Srinagar: More than a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting with J&K political parties, the Delimitation Commission has started reaching out to political parties and public representatives in Jammu and Kashmir.
In this regard, the panel is going to make its first visit for four days to Jammu and Kashmir beginning July 6. It is expected the commission led by Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai will spend two days each in Jammu and Kashmir regions to take inputs and suggestions from political parties and civil societies for redrawing assembly constituencies.
According to J&K Reorganisation Act 2019, assembly seats will increase from 107 to 114 in Jammu and Kashmir. It is expected four seats will be increased in Jammu and three in Kashmir or vice-versa. Also, 18 seats including 7 for Scheduled Caste and 11 for Scheduled Tribe (ST) can be reserved. Earlier, ST comprising Gujjar, Bakerwal and Gaddis with close to 12 percent population, were excluded from any political reservation.
“The Delimitation Commission has decided to visit the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir from July 6 to July, 9 2021. During this period, the Commission will interact with political parties, public representatives and Union Territory administration officials including District Election Officers/ Deputy Commissioners of 20 districts of the Union Territory to gather first-hand information and input concerning the ongoing process of delimitation as mandated under the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019,” said a statement issued after the commission held its meeting in New Delhi.
The commission was set up in March 2020 and its term was extended by one more year after its working got affected by the Covid pandemic. It has been able to hold a meeting with two BJP MPs from Jammu while the three associate members from National Conference boycotted saying the exercise is “illegal” in view of the legal challenge to abrogation of Article 370 in Supreme Court.
Now after the New Delhi, the commission is expected to include two members of political parties as its associate memberswho won a seat in the District Development Council election .
“The Commission expects that all stakeholders will cooperate in this endeavour and will provide valuable suggestions so that the task of delimitation is completed timely,” the panel said.
The last delimitation exercise was conducted in 1995 and in 2002 the erstwhile state put an embargo on the delimiting the assembly constituencies till 2026 on the lines of government of India’s decision. This is why political parties have questioned the exercise when the delimitation is under freeze across India till 2026.
“Earlier, it invited all associate members for interaction, which were participated by two of the associate members. A number of representations have also been received on various aspects concerning delimitation from civil societies and members of the public from the UT,” the spokesperson said.
The delimitation commission has already taken note of all such suggestions and directed that these may be deliberated further in the context of ground realities concerning delimitation, the spokesperson said.