Jammu and Kashmir delimitation process to be fair and transparent: Panel

Express News Service
SRINAGAR: With some political parties casting doubts over the fairness of the delimitation exercise to redraw Assembly constituencies in J&K, the Delimitation Commission, on the completion of its four-day visit to the Union territory, on Friday assured that the process would be completed in a very fair and transparent manner.

“The delimitation is a complex exercise, not just mere arithmetic. It must reflect the political aspirations of society. Though population forms a base of delimitation, the attention must be given to the geographical area, topographical difficulties, communication challenges, and public convenience,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and member of Delimitation Commission Sushil Chandra said.

It was the commission’s first visit to J&K after its formation in March last year to redraw the Assembly constituencies in the UT. The commission has been given one year’s extension to complete the delimitation exercise. Chandra said the panel during its visit to J&K met 290 groups and 800 people in Srinagar, Pahalgam, Kishtwar and Jammu. “There was an overwhelming response from the groups and people,” he said.

The CEC said the exercise is being carried out under the 2011 Census and J&K officials have provided the details of patwar halqas, district areas, population figures, etc.

In the 2011 Census, he said, J&K had only 12 districts and the number of districts has now climbed to 20. “Similarly, there were only 58 tehsils and it has risen to 270,” he said.  “In 12 districts, constituency boundaries are extended beyond limits of districts while 88 tehsils are distributed in more than one district,” he said.

When asked that PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has alleged that the delimitation was a “pre-planned exercise”, commission chairperson Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai assured that the exercise will be completed in a very fair and transparent manner.