Srinagar: The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir in its internal meeting, on Wednesday, has decided to visit the erstwhile state from July 6 to 9 to gather first hand information and input related to the ongoing process of delimitation in the Union Territory as mandated under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
During its visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the commission will interact with political parties, public representatives and Union Territory administration officials, including District Election Officers or Deputy Commissioners of 20 districts of the region.
The three-member Commission comprises of Chairperson, Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, ex-officio members Sushil Chandra (Election Commissioner) and K.K Sharma (State Election Commissioner, J&K) will visit the UT.
The commission is tasked with redrawing parliamentary and assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir.
The decision was taken during the internal meeting of the commission under the Chairpersonship of Desai, in the presence of Chandra and Jammu and Kashmir’s Chief Electoral Officer along with other officials of the poll panel. It is learnt that the commission is expected to finalise its delimitation plans for Jammu and Kashmir after consultations with political parties and other stakeholders.
The Delimitation Commission was constituted in March 2020 and its term was extended by another year in March 2021 in view of the ongoing pandemic.
The commission also has five Associate members nominated by the Lok Sabha Speaker comprising Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Jugal Kishore Sharma, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi.
The Commission held its first meeting here on February 18 this year to seek suggestion and views on the process of delimitation in the Union Territory and later series of meetings were held. In further meetings, issues related to data, map of the districts of Jammu and Kashmir and constituencies related to census 2011 were discussed.
Earlier, it invited all Associate members for interaction, which were participated by only Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma.
A number of representations has also been received on various aspects concerning delimitation from civil societies and members of public from the UT. The commission has already taken note of all such suggestions and directed that these may be deliberated further in the context of ground realities concerning delimitation.
The commission expects that all stakeholders will cooperate in this endeavour and will provide valuable suggestions so that the task of delimitation is completed on time.
This meeting was held six days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi organised an all-party meeting with 14 Jammu and Kashmir leaders of different political parties here to prepare a roadmap for the progress of Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting started at 11 a.m. The meeting was organised a week after the Election Commission held a virtual discussion with its representatives in Jammu and Kashmir and Deputy Commissioners regarding the delimitation process in the region.
Earlier, Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference, which has won all the three Lok Sabha seats from the Kashmir Valley had decided to opt-out from the proceedings stating that there was no need to redraw the constituencies at this stage.
Even so, there are indications that the party is reconsidering and has authorised Abdullah to decide whether to participate in the deliberations of the commission.
Prime Minister Modi on June 24 at all-party meeting with Jammu and Kashmir leaders had said that the ongoing delimitation exercise in the UT needs to happen quickly so that assembly polls can be held in the region which will further strengthen its development trajectory and will pave way to declare full statehood there.