Delimitation Commission To Visit Jammu & Kashmir Between July 6 To 9; CEC To Be Present

The Delimitation commission under the leadership of former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai will be in Jammu and Kashmir from July 6 to 9, 2021, in the presence of Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra. The commission will interact with the political leaders of the state, representatives of various stakeholders including Deputy Commissioners of almost 20 districts. The three-member delimitation commission was appointed in February 2020 and is tasked with redrawing parliamentary and assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting comes a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired the all-party meeting with J&K leaders of mainstream political parties in Delhi. PM Modi has stressed the need to complete the delimitation exercise in order to ensure that polls can be held in the union territory.

Delimitation Commission to hold a meeting on July 1

The three-member delimitation commission could not complete its work within the allotted time of one year and has therefore been given an extension of one year. In addition, a full meeting of the commission that also includes associate members like Lok Sabha MPs from Jammu & Kashmir is likely to take place soon. The date for such a meeting will be decided on Thursday. Earlier, Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference, which has won all the three Lok Sabha seats from the Kashmir Valley, had decided to opt-out from the proceedings stating that there was no need to redraw the constituencies at this stage. 

Even so, there are indications that the party is reconsidering and has authorised Abdullah to decide whether to participate in the deliberations of the commission. PM Modi had said that the ongoing delimitation exercise in J&K needs to happen quickly so that polls can be held in the Union Territory that will further strengthen its development trajectory. Taking to Twitter, PM Modi tweeted, “Our priority is to strengthen grassroots democracy in JK. Delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and JK gets an elected Government that gives strength to JK’s development trajectory.”

The delimitation exercise has gained urgency and there are indications that the Centre is keen to hold early assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, as per some leaders present at the meeting, who added that they expect that polls may take place in the next six to nine months. The commission will review the progress made so far, including the consultations held by it last week with all deputy commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir on the restructuring of the existing assembly constituencies and carving out seven new seats early this month.

EC Holds Meeting On Delimitation With J&K DCs

On June 23, the Election Commission of India held a meeting in two sessions with all 20 Deputy Commissioners of Jammu & Kashmir. EC Meeting was chaired by Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan in which Deputy Commissioners took part virtually. The inputs were gathered on how to make the assembly seats more geographically compact. It was a meeting to delimit the constituencies of J&K which is seen as a step forward to delimitation in Union Territory, which will pave way for elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Discussions were held on the delimitation of all 90 Assembly constituencies of Jammu & Kashmir. In the meeting the administrative difficulties faced by the deputy commissioners with respect to the assembly constituencies were discussed,” said an official privy to the development.

The number of seats in Jammu & 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).

(Image Credits: PTI/ANI/JYOTIPRAKASHDUTTA-FACEBOOK)

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