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That's The Limit
The recent 96th Constitution Amendment Act, which makes the 2001 census the basis for delimiting Lok Sabha and assembly seats, has set back the process of rationalising constituencies, says Delimitation Commission chairman Justice Kuldip Singh. The elections will now stick to the 1971 census as the basis for constituencies. The commission had almost completed the delimitation of seats in the states going to polls this year in accordance with the 1991 census, as provided under the Delimitation Act passed last year. "Now all that work has lapsed. And there is no utility for the work done," says Singh. The reason being that Parliament, which had decided that the 1991 census be the basis for the current delimitation exercise, now wants the exercise to proceed as per the 2001 census. But, says Singh, "Only provisional figures (of 2001 census) are available and that too up to the tehsil level. Even the SC/ST data has not been tabulated." With the increase in the number of SC/ST seats, many MPs would have lost their fiefdoms if the latest delimitation process had continued.