J&K Delimitation Proposal Causes Uproar After Jammu Gets 6 New Seats, Kashmir 1
As per the draft proposal, Kashmir will now have 47 seats and Jammu 43, despite Kashmir having a higher population.
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More than two years after the state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories in August 2019, the Delimitation Commission has offered a proposal which will give six new legislative seats for Jammu and just one for Kashmir.
The proposal has led to an uproar among local parties who have outrightly rejected the proposal claiming manipulation is being done in electoral constituencies so as to favour one party.
Further, the draft by the central government’s Delimitation Commission was given in New Delhi on Monday, 20 December, to the five MPs from Jammu and Kashmir who are associate members of the body.
National Conference President and MP Farooq Abdullah, part of the meeting, confirmed the draft proposal and said that a formal communication will be sent by the party on 31 December.
What Did the Delimitation Commission Say:
Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar informed that in the Union Territory, since the last delimitation, the number of districts has increased from 12 to 20 and the number of tehsils from 52 to 207, as quoted by news agency ANI.
The Commission has also, for some districts, proposed carving out of an additional Constituency to balance the representation for geographical areas having “inadequate communication and lack of public conveniences due to their inhospitable conditions on international border.”
Moreover, the Commission said in an official statement, “For the first time, in Jammu and Kashmir, nine seats are proposed to be allocated for Scheduled Tribes out of 90 seats on the basis of population. Seven seats are proposed for Scheduled Castes.”
As per the 2011 census, while Kashmir’s population is 68.8 lakh, Jammu’s population is 53.5 lakh people.
Earlier, in the erstwhile state assembly, Jammu province had 37 seats, Kashmir 46 seats, and Ladakh 4 seats. However, as per the draft proposal, Kashmir will have now have 47 seats and Jammu 43.
National Conference will not be signatory to Delimitation Commission report in present form.
Meanwhile, National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi was quoted as saying, “We were shown a draft proposing 6 additional seats for Jammu, 1 for Kashmir valley. This (proposal) is totally unacceptable and is disproportionate as per the 2011 census. Delimitation Commission asked us to submit our objection by 31 December.”
This development comes amid a massive strike by employees of the Power Development Department (PDD), who are protesting against the government’s move to merge J&K Power Development Department into the Power Grid Corporation of India and the handing over of the assets to private companies.
The army had to be called in to assist in restoring power in large parts of Jammu and Kashmir, amid an extreme cold wave.
Meanwhile, speaking on PDD’s strike, J&K Lt Gov Manoj Sinha said, “I understand everyone's problems, our priority is to provide services. Yesterday, we were able to fix 60 percent electricity and assure 100 percent electricity soon. I'd like to promise that within 4-5 years, J&K will receive 3500 MW of electricity.”
He added, “A few steps were taken on reforms; some people don't want the system to improve or work properly. Not a rupee of theirs was outstanding. I'm not against any person, but if some people think that things will go as per them, they're wrong.”
Later, BJP MP Jugal Kishore Sharma said:
"Delimitation commission briefed us on further proceedings, including their criteria in increasing seats district-wise. 2 BJP & 3 National Conference members were present," he said as per ANI. "The commission also asked us to respond to any changes/objections by 31 December," he added.
Meanwhile, ANI quoted Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad as saying, "It's fine that SC & ST communities are getting seats (in the J&K Delimitation Commission), but seats for STs should've been divided in both Jammu province & Kashmir province, as the ST population is almost equal."
(With inputs from ANI and NDTV.)
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