Srinagar, Oct 17 : The Delimitation Commission is giving final shape to its first draft on redrawing Assembly constituencies of the Union Territory (UT), which will be put in public domain for consultation after sharing and discussing it with the associate members of the panel.
The delimitation exercise has attained urgency amid indications that the Centre is keen to hold early assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources told news agency KINS that the delimitation draft will be first made available to the 5 J&K MPs who are associate members of the commission and will be released in the public domain thereafter.
The officials said that after sharing the draft report, the Delimitation Commission will hold a meeting with the associate members to obtain their views before putting out the final draft for seeking public comments and challenges on redrawing of the boundaries.
The Commission, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai, met the aforesaid people during its four-day visit to J&K between July 6 and 9.
The other members of the commission are Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, as an ex-officio member, and the Chief Electoral Officer of J&K.
Sources told KINS that Centre appears to be keen on holding elections early next year and the commission has time till March 6, 2022 to complete the exercise.
The Delimitation Commission had already received the data from deputy commissioners and nearly 290 delegations comprising 800 representatives of political parties and people from other walks of life.
The panel had visited J&K to interact with political parties, public representatives and administration officials of 20 districts to garner inputs. While the delegations of BSP, BJP, CPI, CPI(M), NC, Congress, J&K Apni Party, J&K People’s Conference and other parties submitted their representations to the Delimitation Commission, PDP refused to take part in the proceedings citing that it is a “pre-planned” exercise.
Sources told KINS that almost all 20 Deputy Commissioners who were asked to submit their response to 290 representations have filed their reports.
The commission is hoping to complete the delimitation exercise by March next year.
If sources are to be believed then the elections will most likely be held early next year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured leaders from the erstwhile state that elections would be held soon.
BJP leaders in the state have demanded a fair share for Jammu, while the Congress, National Conference, and the Left called for the restoration of statehood.
As per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of J&K shall be increased from 107 to 114. The delimitation of the constituencies will be determined by the EC in accordance with multiple factors. On February 18, 2020, the Ministry of Legislative Affairs requested Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora to nominate a member to the “proposed” Delimitation Commission for J&K.
Subsequently, the EC mentioned that Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had been selected as the CEC’s nominee. According to the government notification dated March 6, 2020, retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Desai and the State Election Commissioner of the concerned state or Union Territory were appointed as the other two members of the Delimitation Commission. On May 26, three JKNC Lok Sabha MPs Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi, Akbar Lone and two BJP MPs Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore were nominated by the Ministry of Home Affairs as associate members of the Delimitation Commission to assist the three-member panel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last month held a meeting with leaders of mainstream political parties from Jammu and Kashmir where he stressed that the delimitation exercise has to happen quickly so that polls can be held in the UT.(KINS)