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2009 elections to have redrawn boundaries
SC seats in Punjab to go up
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 13
Major political parties today agreed to delink delimitation of constituencies from 33 per cent reservation for women and hold the elections in 2009 on the basis of redrawn boundaries as per the Delimitation Commission’s report.

“By and large, the consensus of the meeting was that the Delimitation Commission’s work should continue and be completed on time (July 2007)”, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who had convened an all-party meeting to seek the views of the political parties on the delimitation exercise, told mediapersons.

He said the political parties agreed that women’s reservation be delinked from the current delimitation exercise.

Former Supreme Court Judge Justice Kuldip Singh, headed the commission.

The redrawing of constituencies would result in the increase of SC and ST seats across the country.

The number of SC seats would increase to 85 from the present 79 in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

The number of ST seats would go up from 41 to 47.

The dissenting voices were those of the Trinamool Congress and the Biju Janata Dal, which claimed that delimitation would become infractious if a decision was taken to increase seats to provide reservation for women in Parliament and state Assemblies.

Mr Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress doubted the authenticity of the 2001 census, on the basis of which the delimitation exercise was being carried out.

“In West Bengal, the democratic process has been totally subverted”, he said, questioning the delimitation process.

Although the meeting decided to delink women’s reservation from delimitation, the leaders agreed for the introduction of the Bill providing 33 per cent reservation for women in the winter session of Parliament.

There was disagreement on the nature and form of reservation to be provided to women in elected bodies.

SAD general secretary Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said they favoured that demitation be completed as per schedule as a considerable amount of time and money had been spent.

He said the commission had finalised a report for Punjab.

As per that report, the number of SC seats for Lok Sabha from the state would increase from three to four.

In the case of the Assembly, SC seats would increase from 29 to 34.

These figures had been worked out on the basis of the 2001 census and would be applicable from 2009.

On women’s reservation, he said the party had always been in favour of 33 per cent reservation and pointed out that there was reservation for women in the SGPC.

On the implementation of the concept, he suggested double-member constituencies as an option.

While the Samajwadi Party, the JD-U and the TDP said they wanted a quota within quota, the RJD, not represented at the meeting, had generally favoured such a view.

The BJP preferred that political parties could be asked to field 33 per cent women candidates in each state.

Party leader V.K. Malhotra said it was not averse to the idea of dual membership.

There were three kinds of suggestions for the implementation of women’s reservation — increasing the number of seats by one-third; double-member constituencies; and 15 per cent reservation in the existing House and putting the onus on political parties to give another 15 per cent reservation on their own.

Several Union ministers, including Mr Shivraj Patil and Mr H.R. Bhardwaj, and leaders of different political parties attended the meeting.

They included Mr Sharad Pawar (NCP), Mr Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Mr Sitaram Yechury and Mr Basudev Acharia (CPI-M), Mr Sudhakar Reddy (CPI) and Mr Ramgopal Yadav (SP).

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