Will be given before deadline of Dec 31
JAMMU, Dec 29: The National Conference and BJP are in the process of finalizing their suggestions/objections for submission to the Delimitation Commission tomorrow or the day after.
Three National Conference MPs—Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi–who are Associate Members of the Commission are expected to submit joint suggestions/objections to the Commission in writing either tomorrow or day after.
Masoodi told the Excelsior that they are finalizing the suggestions/objections for submission to the Delimitation Commission and they will be submitted well before the deadline of December 31 fixed by the Panel.
“We are working on them (suggestions/objections). They will be ready by tomorrow. We will submit them to the Delimitation Commission well before expiry of the deadline,” Masoodi said.
Two BJP Lok Sabha MPs including Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma, both of whom are also Associate Members of the Commission, are also expected to give certain suggestions to the Commission.
In its December 20 meeting with the Associate Members in New Delhi, the Delimitation Commission had invited suggestions/objections from them till December 31 to their proposal regarding increase of six Assembly seats in Jammu division and one in Kashmir and reservation of nine constituencies for Scheduled Tribes (STs) and seven for Scheduled Castes (SCs).
While the BJP has welcomed the proposal, the National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and other Kashmir-based political parties have taken exception to the proposal describing it as “biased”.
Sources said the Delimitation Commission might also invite suggestions from the public through its draft report whenever it is ready.
Once the Delimitation exercise is completed, 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 under Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK).
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.
In the previous Assembly, Kashmir had 46 seats, Jammu 37 and Ladakh four.
Delimitation of the Assembly constituencies was last held in 1994-95 during the President’s Rule when seats of the erstwhile State Assembly were raised from 76 to 87. Jammu region’s seats were increased from 32 to 37, Kashmir’s from 42 to 46 and Ladakh’s two to four. However, the Delimitation was freezed in 2002 by the then National Conference Government headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah in lines with the decision taken by then Central Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Elections to the Legislative Assembly will be held only after delimitation of Assembly constituencies is ompleted.