SRINAGAR: Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for expediting delimitation process, the two-member Commission announced to visit Jammu and Kashmir on July 6 to interact with political parties, public representatives and Union Territory officials.
The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai in New Delhi on Wednesday. Delimitation Commission member and Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra was also present in the meeting. The Commission will arrive on July 6 and leave on July 9.
“During this period, the Commission will interact with political parties, public representatives, and Union Territory administration officials including District Election Officers/ Deputy Commissioners of 20 districts of the Union Territory to gather first-hand information and input concerning the ongoing process of delimitation as mandated under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019,” the Commission said in a statement.
On June 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls could be held in Jammu and Kashmir in order to give a boost to the developmental process
“Delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and J&K gets an elected government that gives strength to J&K’s development trajectory. Today’s meeting with political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir is an important step in the ongoing efforts towards a developed and progressive J&K, where all-around growth is furthered,” Modi tweeted after the all-party meeting.
Prime Minister said democracy’s biggest strength is the ability to sit across a table and exchange views. “I told the leaders of J&K that it is the people, especially the youth who have to provide political leadership to J&K, and ensure their aspirations are duly fulfilled,” he said.
Under the Reorganization Act, 2019, the Union Territory of J&K will have an Assembly while Ladakh will not. Under the Act, the number of seats in the J&K Assembly would be increased from 107 to 114 after delimitation.
According to notification, the delimitation Commission shall have three members. It shall be headed by a serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court. Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioner nominated by the CEC and the State Election Commissioner will be its ex-officio members.
In February last year, the then Chief Election Commissioner named Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra as his nominee to the Delimitation Commission. On March 6 last year, the Centre appointed former Supreme Court judge Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai as head of the Commission. The Commission has five associate members nominated by Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla. They include three National Conference and two BJP MPs.
Later in May 2020, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla nominated three NC MPs —Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone, and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi – as members of the Delimitation Commission. In February this year, the Commission held its first meeting but the National Conference did not participate.
“The Commission has already held series of meetings related data/map of the districts/constituencies related to 2011 census. Earlier, it invited all associate members for interaction. Two associate members participated. A number of representations have also been received from civil society and members of the public. 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,” said the Commission.
The Commission said they expected that all stakeholders will co-operate in this endeavor and will provide valuable suggestions so that the task of delimitation is completed timely.