Over six months after withdrawal of special status and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir State into two Union Territories, the Narendra Modi government has made first move towards restoration of legislative institutions. The Centre on Monday proposed a delimitation commission to draw out Assembly constituencies for Jammu and Kashmir. The delimitation commission will be headed by a former Supreme Court judge while one member each from Jammu and Kashmir Administration and Election Commission of India (ECI) will also be a part of the panel. Responding to Centre’s request for sending in its nominee on the delimitation commission, the Election Commission of India has nominated Sushil Chandra, one of the Election Commissioners, to the panel. According to the provision of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, introduced in the Rajya Sabha by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, “The number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114,” and the delimitation exercise “may be determined by the Election Commission”. The Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir was dissolved by Governor on November 21, 2018. Fresh elections were expected in the erstwhile state within a period of six months, however, they were postponed in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories in August 2019. Recently, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president JP Nadda had confirmed that the elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held only after the delimitation of seats. Nadda also said Scheduled Tribe (ST) seats in the union territory will also be reserved for Gujjars and Bakarwals. “The delimitation of Assembly constituencies should take place as per the area and population. It should take place in all three regions – Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh. We feel that this should take place immediately. Wherever wrongs have taken place have to be corrected,” he had said. No doubt there has been a sense of discrimination as far as Jammu was concerned after the political relegation as compared to Kashmir. Hope the whole exercise would be able to deliver justice to Jammu by realigning the political seats.
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