J-K delimitation panel rejects demand for redrawing seats

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The Delimitation panel for Jammu & Kashmir is learnt to have accepted 15 of the 22 ‘suggestions, objections and concerns’ raised by the five associate members – Bhartiya Janata Party Members of Parliament (MPS) Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore and National Conference MPs Farooq Abdullah, Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi, reported The Economic Times.

The demands accepted are mostly regarding changing the names of proposed assembly and parliamentary constituencies, the report added.

However, suggestions on inclusion of some areas, halqa within another constituency have largely been rejected by the panel on grounds of contiguity among other factors.

Also stands rejected is the NC demand against inclusion of assembly segments from Jammu in the freshly drawn Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency.

The delimitation panel is clear that J-K should be treated as a single unit and not two separate divisions in the redrawing of constituencies.

The panel has also rejected suggestions seeking a less stringent approach on the 18 assembly segments per parliamentary constituency model or any proposal involving tinkering with the basic administrative unit or taluka- known as the ‘Patwar Halqa’ in Kashmir.

However, restoration of constituency names or new suggestions have been largely accepted from both the parties, ET has gathered.

For instance, accepting suggestions from associate members, the Larloo constituency will now be known as Kokernag and Anantnag as Shangus Anantnag.

As sought by the NC, the Srinagar South constituency will be named Habba Kadal as sought by NC MPs.

Congress has not sent in any representation to the panel so far nor has People’s Democratic Party which has boycotted the delimitation discussions.

A revised draft delimitation proposal- accepting 15 of the 22 suggestions- has been sent to the three Associate members for their views.

They are to respond by March 4, following which, the poll panel will take a final view on the delimitation draft proposal and publish it for public comment, as per process.

It is expected that the delimitation panel’s report will be ready by May 6- the extended deadline, setting stage for holding of elections in J-K.

The scene of action will then move to the Election Commission of India which will then have to schedule polls in the state.

The process of voter roll revision is expected to take another 2-3 months.

Unless the polls can be held in J-K by September-October of this year, it is quite likely that the cold will send the poll schedule for the Union Territory into 2023.

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