Under the Reorganization Act of 2019, the exercise will be based on the 2011 census and add seven seats to the congregation
With the J&K demarcation exercise at the center of talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the J&K political parties, particularly the Gupkar Alliance, on the 24th Union Territory (UT) ahead of the promised polls.
Despite a suspension of such proceedings until 2026 initiated by the government of then Prime Minister Farooq Abdullah in 2002 in both the State Assembly and the Supreme Court, the J&K Delimitation Commission was created under the provisions of Part V of the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 and Delimitation Act , 2002, passed by the Center in August 2019 along with other J&K specific bills.
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Prior to August 5, 2019, J & K’s seats in the assembly were spun off under the J & K Constitution and the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act of 1957. J&K saw the last demarcation exercise that led to it in 1994-95 after 22 years that an increase in the number of constituencies of the Assembly from 76 to 87. In the Jammu region five seats (from 32 to 37 seats), in the Kashmir region by four seats (from 42 to 46) and in Ladakh by two seats ( from two to four).
The state as a whole had a total of 111 seats; with 24 seats reserved and vacant for occupied Kashmir (PoK), while J&K would hold elections for 87 seats after a six-year term, including four from Ladakh, unlike the rest of the country where the assemblies have a five-year term.
What has changed
After August 5, 2019 and the splitting of the state into two Union Territories, the composition of the Assembly changed and the seats of the Union Territory of Ladakh were invalidated, reducing the strength of the J&K Assembly from 87 to 83. under the direction of retired Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, was constituted on March 6, 2020 to delimit seven additional constituencies based on the 2001 census – although the new census is due this year – and increase the number of seats to 90 .
All five Members of Parliament (MPs) from the UT of J&K, two from the BJP and three from the National Conference are its members. The commission, which was given a year to complete the exercise by March, was granted an extension.
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The extension was required after the NC boycotted the commission’s meeting on February 18 this year, saying the entire 2019 Reorganization Act was under judicial review because it was “tangibly unconstitutional and in disregard and violation of the mandate and spirit of the Constitution of India ”was enacted. . On the other hand, the BJP MPs suggested considering elements other than population, such as physical characteristics, existing boundaries of administrative units, communication facilities and public facilities, while delineating new constituencies.
Why is the BJP’s agenda?
According to Aijaz Ashraf Wani, Senior Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Kashmir, the BJP has proposed the abolition of special status and demarcation for many years.
“The constitutional special status of J&K has been abolished. She doesn’t want to miss the demarcation process for her set timelines. It may not have significant value for the election, but it has high rhetorical value for the party in the Jammu region where its vote base is, ”said Prof. Wani.
Although there is a fixed formula for creating new constituencies, the BJP will only win if the seats are increased in the districts where it dominates the political scene, such as the Samba-Kathua-Jammu-Udhampur belt.
“Though it seems from seven” [new seats]”There is broadly a chance of an even distribution between the Kashmir region and the Jammu region,” said Wani.
He said the demarcation process will become a key election point for the BJP in upcoming polls to highlight how it has tried to break the hegemony of the Kashmir region by increasing seats in the Jammu region. “It remains to be seen how many they can actually attract locally,” he added.
However, many in Jammu believe that the planned tribes will be reserved for the first time in the J&K gathering.
What about elections?
According to Wani, there is no constitutional connection between the two exercises, the demarcation and the elections. “Both are independent exercises. However, the BJP would like to add a sequence, ”he added.
Experts suggested that the demarcation talks that have recently been the focus of the talks is an issue with the BJP and the NC as only those two parties have MPs from J&K. Other political parties, such as the People’s Democratic Party or the Congress without MPs, have no position in the exercise.
The Demarcation Commission is an independent body formed in accordance with Article 82 after Parliament has passed a demarcation law after each census. Interestingly, the J&K Delimitation Commission would like to base its delimitation on the 2011 and not the due 2021 census report.
Why did NC agree to participate?
Mr Wani said the NC understands that the process may not change the electoral dynamics in J&K significantly.
“By participating in the process, NC will give credibility to the final report. Why they agreed to be part of the process they previously interviewed is not known? ”He added.