Rajat Sharma

Why Centre wants to carry out delimitation work in J&K ?

AKB 2On Tuesday, the new Home Minister Amit Shah was given a detailed presentation on Jammu and Kashmir by the Home Ministry officials. Among the many plans of BJP for J&K is the move to set up a Delimitation Commission to determine the number of assembly seats for all the three divisions – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

The BJP had promised in its 2019 Lok Sabha election manifesto that it would work for abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution that gives special powers to J&K, and annulling Article 35A that gives special rights to the people of Kashmir valley. The BJP wants more seats for the Jammu region through the delimitation process. It wants to “correct disparities” with Jammu region and provide representation to all reserved categories.

The Farooq Abdullah government had amended the state consitution in 2002 freezing delimitation of seats till the first census after 2026. Legal experts say that the J&K Governor has powers to strike down the amendment, provided it is ratified by Parliament within six months .

Out of the 87 assembly seats in J&K, seven are reserved for schedule castes, all in Jammu valley, as there are no persons belonging to SC in the Kashmir valley. These reserved seats have not been rotated since 1996. In the state assembly, Kashmir valley dominates with 46 seats, Jammu region with 37 and Ladakh has four assembly seats.

The move for delimitation has drawn strong reactions, as expected, from political leaders in the Kashmir valley. JKPDP chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah have opposed the move to remove the freeze on delimitation.

Those criticizing the move should note that the delimitation work cannot be done within two months. On Tuesday, the Election Commission of India indicated that it would decide on dates of state assembly elections after the Amarnath Yatra is over in August. If assembly polls are held in October, delimitation work cannot be completed by that time.

The delimitation process involves preparation of a report, setting up of a commission, submission of report by that commission, and then Parliament will have to approve that report. Following this, the Governor will have to annul the amendment made by Farooq Abdullah government putting a freeze on delimitation till 2026. All these will take time.

Naturally, the assembly elections later this year in J&K will be conducted within the current framework. The Centre will, of course, try to speed up the delimitation work, but it would be politically incorrect to level the charge that a move is afoot to install a Hindu chief minister in J&K. Political leaders should avoid making loose remarks on such critical issues.

Click Here to Watch Full Video| Get connected on TwitterInstagram & Facebook

Comments are closed.