The proposal of the delimitation commission to redraw the assembly seats of Jammu and Kashmir [J-K] based on 2011 census has left out the main districts in the region despite having the highest population density and land area.
According to the delimitation commission proposed document, a copy of which is in the possession of The Kashmir Walla, six districts that include Ganderbal, Kulgam, Anantnag , Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, and Jammu have not been included in the delimitation plan despite meeting all the parameters according to the 2011 census.
The delimitation commission has prepared the recommendation as per census 2011 by which J-K has a population of 1.25 crores, with 68.8 lakhs in Kashmir division and 53.5 lakhs in Jammu division.
The documents reveal that the six districts have the highest population density and land area than some of those districts that have been included in the delimitation commission recommendation draft.
As per the draft proposal the panel has proposed to increase one assembly seat each in Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Doda, Kishtwar and Rajouri districts in the Jammu region. And one assembly seat in Kupwara district in Kashmir.
The proposed documents disclose that Kathua district has 245 density population per square kilometer and 2502 area square kilometer. Samba district has 345 density population per square kilometer and 915 area square kilometer.
Udhampur district has 239 density population per square kilometer and 2332 area square kilometer, Doda has 156 density population per square kilometer and 2572 area square kilometer, Kishtwar has 29 density population per square kilometer and 8054 area square kilometer, Rajouri has 244 density population per square kilometer and 2630 area square kilometer.
In Kashmir division, Kupwara has 366 density population per square kilometer and 2379 area square kilometer.
However, the districts like Kulgam that has been excluded in the draft proposal has 157 density population per square kilometer and 2709 area square kilometer. Bandipora district has 151 density population per square kilometer and 2571 area square kilometer.
Similarly, Ganderbal has 165 density population per square kilometer and 1915 area square kilometer, Anantnag has 846 density population per square kilometer and 1275 area square kilometer, Baramulla has 502 density population per square kilometer and 1977 area square kilometer, Budgam has 553 density population per square kilometer and 1364 area square kilometer.
In Jammu division, Jammu has 645 density population per square kilometer and 2373 area square kilometer.
The delimitation commission proposal to add six additional assembly seats for Jammu and one seat for Kashmir, was not well received by the mainstream political parties in the valley who termed the recommendation “unacceptable” and “unfair” to the people of Kashmir.
Talking to The Kashmir Walla, National Conference [NC] Member of Parliament [MP] Justice (rtd) Hasnain Masoodi, who is one of the three members in the commission, said that they will file their objections to the proposal on Saturday.
“We don’t accept this proposal, and will be submitting our objection to the commission today. The recommendation is not justified by the data of the 2011 census,” Masoodi said.
Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an amalgam of political parties to fight for the restoration of Article 370, has also decided to hold a peaceful demonstration on 1 January 2022 in protest against the recommendation of the delimitation commission.
The Jammu and Kashmir as a whole had a total of 111 seats; with 24 reserved and vacant for Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK), while J-K would hold elections for 87 seats, including four from Ladakh, after a six-year term, unlike the rest of the India where assemblies have a five-year term.
With the proposed, the total assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir have risen to 90. In Jammu, the number of seats has gone up to 43 from 37, and in Kashmir, by one seat to 47.
Out of nine scheduled tribe [ST] seats reserved by the delimitation commission in a set up to redraw the assembly seats, four seats have been reserved for Kashmir, while five of the seats have been kept reserved for Jammu province.