Delimitation Commission invites public suggestions to draft till March 21

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Delimitation Commission invites public suggestions to draft till March 21

Srinagar, March 14: The Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission on Monday placed a draft with the proposed changes to assembly and parliamentary segments in the Union territory in the public domain and invited suggestions till 5 pm on March 21.

The most recent draft includes small changes that were made to the earlier drafts after objections raised by National Conference (NC) MPs and suggestions by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs.

The commission is tasked with redrawing boundaries of assembly constituencies post the splitting of the state into two Union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh – on August 5, 2019.

While the National Conference has termed these changes largely “cosmetic”, the state unit of the BJP had earlier stated that the exercise is a “logical move” to ensure political empowerment of the region.

The changes include the renaming of certain constituencies. However, suggestions on redrawing of constituencies have not been accepted by the commission.

This includes the renaming of the Habba Kadal assembly constituency, which was earlier included in Srinagar South. The Larnoo constituency will now be called Kokernag, to represent the larger area. Likewise, the Anantnag East seat will henceforth be Shangus- Anantnag East. The Mughalmaidan seat in Kishtwar has been renamed Inderwal. The BJP MPs had also suggested renaming the Anantnag-Rajouri parliamentary seat and Anantnag-Poonch but that has not been accepted by the commission.

In a public notice, the commission said: “The Delimitation Commission has published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary and in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir Gazette, both dated 14th March 2022 its proposals for the delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies in the UT of Jammu & Kashmir for the purpose of elections to the House of People and the Legislative Assembly for the Union Territory. The Commission invites objections and suggestions about the same.”

The commission has provided only a week for the general public to provide their feedback on the proposals in the draft that it will take up in public sittings in Srinagar and Jammu on March 28 and 29.

The location and timings of the hearings will be notified separately, the commission said.

In the last week of February, the commission was given an extension of two months to complete the drawing of boundaries in Jammu and Kashmir. The NC had criticised the earlier drafts presented by the commission pointing out deficiencies critiquing the draft on “arbitrarily devised some unknown criteria while apportioning and identifying increased 7 seats and selectively applied the criteria so fixed and thereafter allotted seats compromising the fundamental principle of population as the main criteria”.

The party had questioned the rationale of allotting six of the seven new constituencies in favour of the Jammu division and only one, to Kashmir.

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