Jammu and Kashmir: CEC Sushil Chandra defends Delimitation Commission; says nothing pre-planned

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July 09, 2021 4:05 PM

The Delimitation Commission will complete its four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir today.

The Delimitation Commission will complete its four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir today.

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra today rubbished claims that the outcome of the delimitation exercise underway in Jammu and Kashmir was pre-decided, as alleged by the Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP and some political leaders. “If something was decided earlier then the Commission would not have come here. Nothing has been pre-planned so far. Before starting the exercise, we want to have the views of all persons. These apprehensions in the mind of any person, if at all, should go away,” said Chandra.

The Delimitation Commission will complete its four-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir today. The Commission, led by Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, arrived in Srinagar on July 6 and reached Jammu yesterday for a two-day visit. Speaking to the media, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, who is also a member of the commission, admitted that people are facing difficulties due to overlapping of districts and a final draft will be prepared only after taking inputs from the stakeholders.

CEC Chandra said that the first full-fledged delimitation commission was formed in 1981 which could submit its recommendation after 14 years in 1995. “It was based on the 1981 Census. Thereafter, no delimitation has taken place,” he said.

The CEC added that there were 12 districts in 1995 which had increased to 20 now. “In 1995, there were 12 districts. The number has gone up to 20 now. The number of tehsils has gone up from 58 to 270. In 12 districts, constituency boundaries are extended beyond the district’s limit…There is an overlapping of districts as well as the tehsils in Constituencies. All such facts indicate that the public faces inconvenience due to such anomalies,” said Sushil Chandra.

He said that the first draft will be prepared based on the demands of the people and political parties. “Taking all the demands and recommendations into account, a draft will be prepared and put in the public domain for their comments. After seeing all the comments, the final draft (on Delimitation exercise) will be prepared,” he said.

According to reports, for the first time, some seats are likely to be reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Jammu and Kashmir. Notably, PM Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet had approved a 10 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Sections in Jammu & Kashmir besides approving the grant of reservation in promotion for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in 2019. Now, the STs are likely to get political backing as well.

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