J&K Delimitation Commission makes its proposals public; invites objections till March 21

Jammu, Mar 14 (PTI) The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir has made its proposals public and invited objections and suggestions till March 21 before visiting the Union Territory later this month for public sittings.

The commission published its final proposal, maintaining the number of Lok Sabha constituencies at five but increasing the assembly seats from present 83 to 90 (adding six in Jammu and one in Kashmir), in the gazettes of India and Jammu and Kashmir.

The detailed proposal, published in leading newspapers on Monday, also carried two dissenting notes signed by four of the five associate members – three National Conference Lok Sabha MPs (Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi and Mohammad Akbar Lone) and BJP MP Jugal Kishore.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh is the fifth associate member of the commission.

Set up on May 6, 2020 with a one-year term to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies, the commission headed by former supreme court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai has given two extensions of one year and two months, respectively, to complete its task.

However, its draft proposals had evoked a strong reaction, especially from the opposition parties including the National Conference whose dissent note pertained to different assembly constituencies besides challenging the very constitution of the panel pending the Supreme Court verdict on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act.

While splitting Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories through the Reorganization Act in August 2019, the Union Home Ministry had increased Assembly seats of Jammu and Kashmir by seven taking total seats to 114, 24 of which are reserved for Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) while the election will be held for 90 seats.

The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir had 111 seats including 24 reserved for PoJK while elections were held for 87 seats. With the creation of Ladakh as Union Territory, four seats of the region were reduced and the Assembly was left with 83 seats.

However, with an increase of seven seats, J&K UT will have an Assembly of 90 seats – Kashmir will have 47 seats and the Jammu region 43 seats.

Two women MLAs will be nominated to the House, which was the position earlier also. In the previous Assembly, Kashmir had 46 seats, Jammu 37 and Ladakh four.

Delimitation of the Assembly constituencies was last held in 1994-95 during the President’s Rule when seats of the erstwhile State Assembly were raised from 76 to 87.

Jammu region’s seats were increased from 32 to 37, Kashmir’s from 42 to 46 and Ladakh’s two to four. However, the delimitation was freezed in 2002 by the then National Conference Government headed by Abdullah in line with the decision taken by the then central government led by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

the Delimitation Commission hereby publishes its proposals for the delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, together with the dissenting proposals of the Associate Members, and specifies 21st March 2022 (Monday) as the date on or after which the proposals will be further considered by it, the advertisement signed by Secretary K N Bhar read.

He said any objections or suggestions in regard to these proposals should reach the Secretary, Delimitation Commission, New Delhi, on or before March 21.

The Commission said that it will visit Jammu and Kashmir on March 28 and 29 for public sittings.

The Commission said the number of Parliamentary seats in Jammu and Kashmir will remain five. Kashmir and Jammu divisions now have two Lok Sabha seats each while one seat is spread over both the divisions.

Jammu has Jammu-Reasi and Udhampur-Doda constituencies while Kashmir has Srinagar-Budgam and Baramulla-Kupwara. Anantnag-Poonch seat is part of both divisions.

The Commission said no Parliamentary constituency has been reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

It said Jammu and Kashmir will have a 90-seat Assembly and, of them, seven segments will be reserved for SCs and nine for STs.

The Commission said it has published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary and in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, its proposals for the delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir for the purpose of elections to House of People (Lok Sabha) and Legislative Assembly.

Copies of the Gazette are available for reference with the Chief Electoral Officer, UT of Jammu and Kashmir and the Election officials in all districts of the Union Territory, the commission said, adding the suggestions will be considered by the Commission in its public sitting in Jammu and Kashmir on March 28 and 29, the location and timing of which will be notified separately.

Nine seats reserved for STs include Rajouri, Darhal and Thanna Mandi, all in Rajouri district, Surankote and Mendhar in Poonch district and Mahore in Reasi district (Jammu region); Gurez in Bandipora district, Kangan in Ganderbal district and Kokernag in Anantnag district (Kashmir division).

All seven seats reserved for SCs fall in the Jammu region including Ramnagar in Udhampur district, Kathua South in Kathua district, Ramgarh in Samba district; Bishnah, Suchetgarh, Marh and Akhnoor in Jammu district.

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