The Delimitation Commission on Friday assured that it has come to Jammu and Kashmir with an open mind and will act in a fair and transparent manner.
The commission that has been accused by certain Kashmir based political parties of conducting a pre-planned exercise, told media persons here after completing its 4-days visit to the union territory (UT) that the draft prepared by the commission will be put in the public domain for objections and the associate members will also be consulted before preparing the final draft.
Replying to a question about allegations of the PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti that delimitation was a pre-planned exercise, chairperson of the commission Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai assured that the exercise will be transparent and as such there should be no doubts or fear. We can talk only to those who want to participate in the process, she said while responding to a question on boycott of the commission by Mehbooba.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, who is ex-officio member of the commission, said that the exercise to re-draw boundaries of Assembly constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir is a “very complex issue and not mere arithmetic.”
He said that the delimitation was being done constitutionally under the J&K Reorganisation Act. Population will be the main criteria for delimitation but priority will be also the area, geography, topography and also the communication facilities of the areas. The exercise is being done on the basis of the 2011 census.
He said that in the past four days, the 3-member commission met 290 groups consisting of about 800 persons in Srinagar, Pahalgam, Kishtwar and Jammu to know their viewpoints and suggestions. He said that all demands and recommendations will be taken into account. The Chief Election Commissioner said the commission will also specify the number of seats to be reserved for the Schedule Caste and the Scheduled Tribes in J&K Assembly. It will be for the first time that seats will be reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in the Assembly.
Sushil Chandra said the visit of the commission was to ascertain the ground realities. “It is not arithmetical exercise, it is not mathematical exercise, it was to know genuine concerns of the public, to know the genuine difficulties of the people.”
The Delimitation Commission has said that 7 more assembly seats will be added in the J&K Assembly. This will increase the strength of the Assembly to 90.
The Commission has ruled out de-freezing one-third of 24 seats reserved for displaced persons of the Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) settled here.