M A I N   N E W S

Punjab will have 5 more reserve Assembly seats
One more reserve Lok Sabha constituency
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Punjab will have five more reserve Assembly constituencies and one more reserve Lok Sabha constituency. The existing number of reserve Assembly segments in Punjab at present is 28. With the addition of five more segments, the number of such constituencies will become 33 and the number of Lok Sabha reserve constituencies will go up to 4 from the three at present. However, there will not be any increase in the existing total 117 Assembly constituencies or the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state. But a number of existing reserved Assembly segments will be de-reserved and existing non-reserved will be reserved.

This will be done on the basis of scheduled population in a particular constituency as per the census report of 2001. Boundaries of almost all Lok Sabha constituencies and most of the Assembly constituencies will be redrawn to make them more compact and for better management from the election point of view. At present, there are Lok Sabha constituencies such as Ropar spread over five districts. Likewise, Phillaur constituency is very difficult to manage as far as elections are concerned. It is difficult for even candidates to campaign in such constituencies.

After a lot of homework, the preliminary discussion to create new reserve constituencies have started in the delimitation commission headed by Justice Kuldeep Singh.

“It would take about 10 months to complete the process to create new reserve constituencies and for the compacting of the existing ones”, said Mr C.L. Bains, Punjab Election Commissioner, who is a regular member of the Delimitation commission. The other regular member is Mr B.B. Tandon, Election Commissioner of India. Besides it, there are five Members of Parliament and five MLAs from Punjab as associate members of the delimitation commission. Mr Bains told The Tribune today that at present internal discussions were on in the Delimitation commission. On the basis of it, a draft report will be prepared and published to invite objections, comments and suggestions from the public. Then, the process of public hearing will start. The commission members would visit certain places to hold public hearings.

After that further discussions will be held to prepare the final draft, says Mr Bains. Once the final draft is published, it could not be challenged in any court of law.

Mr Pritam Singh Kumedan, who is expert in the demography of the state, says that one can say with certainty that the Faridkot Lok Sabha constituency, from where Mr Sukhbir Badal was elected, would become reserve.

And likewise, the Lambi Assembly constituency, which is a permanent seat of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, would also become reserve as both these constituencies have the highest concentration of SC population. He said that one new reserve Lok Sabha seat is expected to be named in the Doaba region. Malwa has already Ropar and Bathinda as reserve Lok Sabha constituencies.

Faridkot may be named as reserve by de-reserving Ropar, he added. At present the scheduled caste population in Punjab is 28.85 per cent. Its highest concentration — 40.46 per cent is in Nawanshahr followed by Muktsar, where it is 37.75 per cent.

In Jalandhar it is 37.69 per cent and in Faridkot it is 36.17 per cent. Hoshiarpur has 34.28 per cent SC population and Moga 31.84 per cent. Mansa has 30.33 per cent SC population and Bathinda has 29.97 per cent as per the latest census data.

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