Paving Way for Assembly Polls, J&K Delimitation Panel Signs Final Order
The order will be put into effect from a date announced by the central government.
The Delimitation Commission on Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, 5 May, authorised and submitted its final report on redrawing electoral constituencies in the region, news agency ANI reported.
The 90 assembly constituencies in the region will be bifurcated in such a manner that 43 seats will be a part of the Jammu region, and the Kashmir region will have 47 assembly seats.
Further, after consulting with associate members, representatives of political parties, citizens, and civil society groups, the panel has decided to reserve 9 seats for Scheduled Tribes (ST), out of which, 6 are in the Jammu region and 3 in the Kashmir Valley.
For the purpose of reworking the electoral map, J&K has been treated as a single Union Territory, with one Parliamentary Constituency being carved out by combining the Anantnag region in the Valley and Rajouri and Poonch of the Jammu region.
The order will reportedly be put into effect from a date announced by the central government.
"As per the notification, there are 90 Assembly Constituencies (ACs) and 5 Parliamentary Constituencies: 43 in Jammu and 47 in the Valley. We've ensured that ACs related to a district were confined to that, unlike before when ACs were divided into various districts," Sushil Chandra, the chief election commissioner and member of the Delimitation Commission, was quoted as saying by ANI.
"For 5 Parliamentary Constituencies (PCs), Delimitation Commission has ensured that all of them have an equal number of Assembly Constituencies. The division is such that each PC has 18 assembly constituencies," he added.
What the Earlier Draft Said
On 20 December 2021, a draft by the central government’s Delimitation Commission indicated nine seats would be allocated for Scheduled Tribes out of 90 seats on the basis of population. "Seven seats are proposed for Scheduled Castes," the commission added.
Since the last delimitation, the number of districts were to be increased from 12 to 20 and the number of tehsils from 52 to 207. As per the earlier draft proposal, Kashmir was to have 47 seats and Jammu 43.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been pushing for redrawing of electoral boundaries, any possibility of delimitation being carried out in J&K has been vehemently opposed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC), which are the two biggest parties in the state.
(You can read more about the history of the exercise in J&K here.)
"Outrightly Reject It, Don't Trust It': PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti
Meanwhile, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said that she "outrightly rejects" the delimitation plan and doesn't "trust" it.
"What delimitation? One that has become an extension of BJP? That overlooked the basis of population and acted as per their wish. We outrightly reject it. We don't trust it. Its recommendations are a link to abrogation of Article 370 – how to disempower people of J&K," Mehbooba Mufti was quoted as saying by ANI.
"Today 1947-like situation is gradually being formed in the country. It's very dangerous. It's a common nation for all religions, its beauty lies in this brotherhood. If BJP runs it as per their agenda and not as per Constitution, in the time to come, nobody would be safe," she added.
She also attacked the BJP, saying the governments under the saffron party rule were supporting "gunda elements".
"What is happening across the country today is a matter of concern. The atmosphere that is being created, especially against the minorities, is not only being created by goons but BJP govternments are also supporting the 'gunda elements'," she said.
"In Jahangirpuri (Delhi), bulldozers worked for 2-2.5 hours despite the Supreme Court's directions. BJP weakened institutions to such an extent that a municipality refuses to accept the Supreme Court's directions. Saw atrocities in J&K in the last three years. Things start here & then propagated elsewhere in country," she added.
(With inputs from ANI.)
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