EC official holds virtual meet with 20 DCs on delimitation

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, June 23: Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bushan Kumar, a senior official of the Delimitation Commission set up for Jammu and Kashmir, today held consultations with all 20 Deputy Commissioners on restructuring of the existing Assembly constituencies and carving out seven new seats.
At a virtual meet attended by all the 20 DCs, inputs were gathered on how to make the Assembly seats more geographically compact, official sources told the Excelsior.
They said the official confirmed data from the Deputy Commissioners, who also happen to be the District Electoral Officers, pertaining to Assembly constituencies in their districts, number of electorates and reserved segments for Scheduled Castes.
Some Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir have to be reserved for the Scheduled Tribe as part of the delimitation exercise, the sources pointed out. In the last Assembly, Jammu and Kashmir had seven seats reserved for Scheduled Castes but there was no reservat6ion for Scheduled Tribes.
Now, besides rotating seven reserved seats of the Scheduled Castes, 10-12 seats could be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, sources said.
After the delimitation exercise, the number of Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will go up from 83 to 90.
Twenty-four seats of the Assembly continue to remain vacant as they fall in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The Delimitation Commission had recently sought data on the area of existing constituencies, including geography and facilities available, and had asked the Deputy Commissioners for their suggestions to make them more “geographically compact”.
Having received the data and suggestions, the Delimitation Commission decided to hold the virtual meeting with the DCs to take forward the matter.
The Delimitation Commission had asked the DCs whether a constituency is in one district or spread across two. They were also asked about details of tehsils.
Set up in March last year, the Delimitation Commission is mandated to redraw the constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir which at present is under Central rule.
In March this year, the Panel headed by Justice Ranjana Desai (Retd), a former Supreme Court judge was given one more year to complete its task.
The Commission has been mandated to delimit the constituencies of the Union Territory in accordance with the provisions of Part V of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 and Delimitation Act, 2002.
While splitting Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories through the Reorganization Act, 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 Kashmir (PoK) while election will be held for 90 seats.
Erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir had 111 seats including 24 reserved for PoK while elections were held for 87 seats. With creation of Ladakh as Union Territory, four seats of the region were reduced and the Assembly was left with 83 seats. However, with increase of seven seats, J&K UT will have an Assembly of 90 seats. Two women MLAs will be nominated to the House, which was the position earlier also.