Saturday, May 21, 2022

J&K Delimitation Commision Starts Work On Report Amid Criticism

The report will reveal the proposed new shape of assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir that will be shared with its associate members before being put in the public domain

J&K Delimitation Commision Starts Work On Report Amid Criticism
Delimitation Commission starts working on report

Amid criticism, the Delimitation Commission, tasked with redrawing assembly constituencies and carving out new ones in the Union Territory, has started working on a draft report, al most a fortnight since its first visit to Jammu and Kashmir. The report will reveal the proposed new shape of assembly constituencies that will be shared with its associate members before being put in the public domain

Headed be former Superme Court judge Ranjana Desai, the commission had visithe J&K earlier in July.  As per officials, the commission will compiled the data received from deputy commissioners and nearly 290 delegations comprising 800 representatives of political parties and people from other walks of life whom its members met during their visit.

A draft report will be prepared using these inputs and it will be shared with the associate members, which include three Lok Sabha members from the National Conference -- Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi and Akbar Lone -- and the BJP's Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma.

The commission also comprises Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra as an ex-officio member and the Jammu and Kashmir electoral officer.

The officials said that after sharing the draft report, the Delimitation Commission will hold a meeting with the associate members to obtain their views before putting out the final draft for seeking public comments and challenges on redrawing of the boundaries.

They said the commission is also looking at some districts where the jurisdictional boundaries can be realigned as the electoral constituency comprises segments from two districts.

The delimitation exercise has attained an urgency amid indications that the Centre is keen to hold early assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. There is speculation that the polls could be held in the next six to nine months.

The commission has time till March 6 next year to redraw the boundaries and create new constituencies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month held a meeting with leaders of mainstream political parties from Jammu and Kashmir where he stressed that the delimitation exercise has to happen quickly so that polls can be held in the UT.

Once the delimitation exercise is completed, the number of assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will go up from 83 to 90.

Twenty-four seats of the assembly continue to remain vacant as they fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Mounting criticism

The National Conference had boycotted the first meeting of the commission.  PDP led by former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had also slammed the commission, saying the body lacked "constitutional and legal mandate" and is part of the overall process of political disempowerment of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Panun Kashmir, an organisation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits, on Sunday objected to the conduct of the delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of 2011 Census.

Its chairman Ajay Chrungoo claimed that the exercise based on the 2011 data will negate the social and political gains made since the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 and its bifurcation into union territories in August 2019.

The commission had earlier said that the exercise would be done according to the Census of 2011.

On the Foundation Day of Panun Kashmir, Chrungoo reiterated its demand for a separate Union Territory for the community.

(With inputs from PTI)