Appointment of Amit Shah as Home Minister has already been seen by analyst as a cat set among the pegions. This came to be realised when he came up with the long pending file for the delimitation of Jammu & Kashmir(J&K).
What is delimitation ?
It is the process of redrawing and fixing afresh the boundaries of constituencies. Over the years, delimitation has been done to redefine the area of a constituency based on its population size. It is not done by a political party but by the Election Commission of India.
Central Government’s move towards delimitation of assembly constituencies of Jammu & Kashmir has heated up the political arena in J&K. The last time a delimitation exercise took place in the state was also under President’s Rule, as far back as 1995 in extremely difficult circumstances by the Justice (retd) KK Gupta Commission.
The Constitution provides for delimitation every 10 years, the next delimitation of assembly constituencies should have taken place in 2005.However, in 2002, the Farooq Abdullah government chose to freeze delimitation until 2026 by amending the Jammu & Kashmir Representation of the People Act 1957 and Section 47(3) of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir.
Center’s move has sparked the sense of worry among the separatists and the political leaders in Kashmir. These leaders have used the valley politics to their personal and political gains costing heavy on the state. Delimitation exercise is going to make the equitable representation in the state assembly from all the regions of the state.
At present the representation in assembly is heavily skewed in favor of Kashmir at the cost of Jammu and Ladakh region. The Kashmir region has 46 seats, Jammu 37 and Ladakh only 4 seats in the state assembly. Going by the procedure the next delimitation can only take place after Census 2031, unless the Governor intervenes.
What Political Parties in J&K says :
Omar Abdullah tweeted, “When delimitation takes place in the rest of the country the BJP is welcome to apply it to J&K until then we in the @JKNC_ will oppose, tooth & nail, any attempt to make changes without a mandate from the people of the state.
“It’s rather surprising that the BJP, which talks about bringing J&K at par with other states by removing 370 & 35-A now wants to treat J&K differently from other states in this one respect”.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Twitter,
“Distressed to hear about GoIs plan to redraw assembly constituencies in J&K. Forced delimitation is an obvious attempt to inflict another emotional partition of the state on communal lines. Instead of allowing old wounds to heal, GoI is inflicting pain on Kashmiris,”