The delimitation commission to redraw the electoral map of Jammu and Kashmir today notified and submitted its much-awaited final report. The completion of the controversial delimitation process will pave the way for holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The former state is without an elected government since June 2018.
All five parliamentary constituencies will have an equal number of assembly constituencies for the first time. Nine seats have been reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST), another first for the erstwhile state.
Of the 90 assembly constituencies, 43 will be part of the Jammu region and 47 for Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir have been treated as a single entity for the purposes of delimitation. The number of total assembly seats in Jammu has risen from 37 to 43 assembly seats.
All assembly constituencies shall remain within the boundary of the concerned district, according to the delimitation order.
The Patwar circle is the lowest administrative unit which has not been broken.
The commission has recommended additional seats in the assembly for Kashmiri migrants and displaced persons from Pakistan occupied J&K.
According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, the census of 2011 had to be the basis of delimitation, but the commission eventually said that it would also take into account the political aspirations of various sections of society and factor in accessibility, topography and proximity to the border as part of the consideration to allot seats
The draft report of the commission that was made public a few months ago has caused a huge controversy after the opposition alleged gerrymandering to help BJP and turning the demographic majority into a political minority in several areas.
Home Minister Amit Shah recently said elections would be held in Jammu and Kashmir after the completion of the delimitation process.
Political parties have pointed out serious flaws in the delimitation process, which may have long-term and serious repercussions for democracy in the region.
For example, while redrawing parliament seats, the commission has merged the Poonch and Rajouri districts, which were part of the Jammu parliament constituency with the Anantnag Parliament constituency in south Kashmir.
There is no geographical connectivity and the distance between the two regions is more than 500 km via Jammu. An alternate route – Mughal road via Shopian district – remains closed during winter and opens only in the summer months.
Regional political parties have rejected the delimitation proposal and alleged that the boundaries of seats were redrawn only to help BJP achieve its political objectives.
“The delimitation exercise is done for furtherance of BJP agenda. The commission has shown no regard for law and Constitution. Particularly, the majority community, be it in Rajouri, Kashmir or China valley has been disempowered. In a sense they have been disenfranchised,” former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said after the draft report was made public.
All Images/Sources/Credit By:- NDTV News