Delimitation panel increases J&K House seats from 83 to 90

Wednesday 11th May 2022 08:06 EDT

The Delimitation Commission, in its final order for Jammu and Kashmir, has made fresh changes in the nomenclature or boundaries of 30 assembly constituencies across 13 districts of the Union territory. While the names of 13 constituencies have been revised, patwar circles or tehsils were included or excluded across 21 assembly constituencies since the last delimitation draft was released in March 2022.

Based on the representations made by Kashmiri migrants and displaced persons from Pakistan-occupied J&K (POJK) seeking presence in the J&K assembly, citing their past persecution and forced life in exile over the last three decades, the Delimitation Commission recommended that two nominated seats be created for the Kashmiri migrant community with voting rights. Some representation for displaced persons from PoJK was also suggested. The commission is headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, and Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and J&K state election commission chief K K Sharma are its ex-officio members.

The fresh changes in the delimitation draft were approved by the commission after considering the suggestions and objections of the public, political representatives and other stakeholders during public hearings conducted by the panel in Jammu and Srinagar on April 4 and 5. This delimitation, which increases the total number of assembly seats in J&K from 83 to 90, is final and cannot be challenged in any court of law.

The delimitation award - which gives 43 assembly seats to Jammu region, including six new ones, and 47 to Kashmir divison, including one additional seat, apart from reserving nine seats for Scheduled Tribes - has been finalised in two years and two months.
The central government will now notify the date from which the delimitation order will take effect. The EC will then take up electoral roll revisions and rationalisation of polling stations according to the redrawn constituencies. These processes, which would require a few months, must be completed for assembly polls to be held.
Among the key changes in the delimitation order vis a vis the March 2022 delimitation draft are revision in names of 13 assembly constituencies (ACs), including seven in Jammu division and six in Kashmir.

Voters will punish BJP, says NC

The National Conference said it was studying the impact of the report on individual assembly segments in J&K but claimed the BJP and its proxies will be punished by the voters whenever elections are held in the union territory. However, the People's Conference (PC) led by Sajad Gani Lone, which is seen as an ally of the BJP, accused the NC of providing sanctity to the delimitation exercise after its MPs participated in the deliberations of the commission.

“We have seen the final recommendations of the delimitation commission. We are studying the implications of these recommendations for individual assembly constituencies… No amount of gerrymandering will change the ground reality which is that whenever elections are held the voter will punish the BJP & its proxies for what they have done to J&K over the last 4 years,” the NC tweeted.

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