Friday, December 1, 2023

Six seats for Jammu, one for Kashmir: Delimitation proposal draws fierce criticism

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The Delimitation Commission for Jammu & Kashmir has proposed six additional seats for the Jammu region and one for Kashmir Valley. This would take the total seats in Jammu to 43 and in Kashmir to 47. Nine seats have been proposed for ST & seven seats for SC candidates. The announcement comes after the meeting between Jammu Kashmir National Conference and the Delimitation Commission on Monday.

Criticising the BJP-led Central government, former CM of J&K and the Vice President of National Conference, Omar Abdullah, tweeted, “It is deeply disappointing that the commission appears to have allowed the political agenda of the BJP to dictate its recommendations rather than the data which should have been it’s only consideration. Contrary to the promised “scientific approach” it’s a political approach.”

Expressing her displeasure over the proposals, former CM and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “My apprehensions about the Delimitation Commission werent misplaced. They want to pitch people against each other by ignoring the population census & preposing 6 seats for one region & only one for Kashmir.”

The commission headed by Justice (Retd.) Ranjana Prakash Desai was constituted by the Central government in 2020 after the abrogation of Article 370 for the purpose of delimitation of assembly and parliamentary constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. The delimitation process is necessary for the redistribution of assembly and parliamentary constituencies in the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir after the bifurcation of the undivided J&K consisting of Ladakh.

Moreover, delimitation is also needed in the UT as new administrative units like tehsils and districts have come into existence after the completion of the last delimitation exercise in the erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir in 1995. Chief Election Commissioner of India Sushil Chandra has stated, “In 1995, there were 12 districts. The number has gone up to 20 now. The number of tehsils has gone up from 58 to 270. In 12 districts, constituency boundaries are extended beyond the district’s limit. There is an overlapping of districts as well as the tehsils in Constituencies. All such facts indicate that the public faces inconvenience due to such anomalies.”

The latest delimitation exercise in the state will be based on the data from the 2011 census.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said that the statehood of Jammu & Kashmir will be restored after the delimitation of constituencies is complete and the union territory undergoes assembly elections.

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