Meeting with all political parties soon to discuss J&K delimitation, EC Sushil Chandra says
New Delhi: The Delimitation Commission is close to making a broad framework for Jammu and Kashmir delimitation, after which it will conduct a meeting with all associate members, who are representatives of different political parties, to give their views on the delimitation of constituencies, Election Commissioner Sushi Chandra said.
“We have already obtained the Census figures of 2011 on the basis of which constituencies will be increased from 107 to 114 in J&K. We have already held five meetings so far,” Chandra told ThePrint Monday.
“The broad framework of delimitation has been decided, and after this we will call a meeting for all associate members, and take their views,” he said. “We will also be going to the ground and taking views… Every voice will be heard.”
According to Chandra, the broad framework refers to a preliminary understanding of how constituencies will be demarcated in order to ensure that constituencies are geographically compact, there are no natural barriers within a constituency, and that the lowest administrative unit is integrated with the constituency.
The commission had put a freeze on all administrative units since 15 June.
The political question
Asked how the panel would build consensus among parties in J&K regarding the process, he said, “We will invite their views, suggestions… If they do not come, we will be deprived of hearing their views.”
Several political parties in J&K have opposed delimitation on the ground that participating in the process would be akin to accepting the Centre’s decision last year to revoke Article 370, placing key political leaders under house arrest, and doing away with the statehood of J&K.
Chandra also said delimitation will be completed in J&K as well as in Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland by March 2021.
In March this year, the government had constituted the Delimitation Commission, to be headed by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the four northeastern states.
Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and the election commissioners of J&K and the four states are its ex officio members.
The demarcation of the boundaries of parliamentary or assembly constituencies is known as delimitation. The process is carried out every few years to ensure that each constituency has approximately an equal number of voters.