The Delimitation Commission, under attack from political parties in the Valley for being a pre-planned exercise, today assured that the commission will act in a fair and transparent manner. It also said that the draft prepared by the commission will be put in public domain for objections and queries. They said the associate members of the commission will also be consulted when preparing the final draft.
The commission said the exercise to re-draw boundaries of Assembly constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir is a “very complex issue and not mere arithmetic.”
The Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra and State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma, met political leaders on July 6 and July 7 in Kashmir. The Commission met delegates in Jammu on July 8 and July 9.
The political parties have been expressing fear that the Delimitation Commission will act against the Muslim majority in J&K.
Addressing a press conference in Jammu, Sushil Chandra, who is also an Ex-officio member of J&K Delimitation Commission said, “We had meetings in Srinagar, we had meetings in Pahalgam, we had meetings in Kishtwar and Jammu. We heard people up to 10:30 p.m. because of the overwhelming response from the people.”
Conscious about criticism the commission is facing from major political parties in J&K, Chandra said people were happy to meet the Commission as it was the first-time people from the ground were given such an opportunity. “Many persons travelled from a long distance to give representation,” he added. He said the tribals were for the first time given representation and they put forward their views on how reservation is to be done.
“Though the population is the main criteria for the delimitation, the attention must be given to the geographical area, topographical difficulties, communication challenges, and public convenience,” he added. He said the visit of the commission was to ascertain the ground realities. “It is not arithmetical exercise, it is not mathematical exercise, it was to know genuine concerns of the public, to know the genuine difficulties of the people.”
“We will keep in mind the census of 2011. As per the Delimitation Act, we have to go by the latest census available,” he said, adding the Act guarantees due representation to the SC and ST categories.
About the PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s allegation that delimitation was already a pre-planned exercise, and the final report was already ready, commission head Justice (retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai said she assures that the exercise will be transparent in nature and there should be no fears and doubts. About Mehbooba Mufti’s decision of boycotting the meeting, she said, “We can only talk to those who want to participate in the process. Those who don’t want to have their own choice.”