Srinagar, February 5
The Delimitation Commission has proposed major changes in the geographical boundaries of the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies, shaking the existing electoral political structure of Jammu and Kashmir.
The commission has proposed redrawing of the Anantnag parliamentary seat by merging into it Rajouri and Poonch districts located across Pir Panjal in Jammu province. Also, the Srinagar and Baramulla Lok Sabha constituencies have witnessed major alterations in their boundaries.
According to the proposal of the Delimitation Commission, several Assembly constituencies in Kashmir have been obliterated in the process of redrawing boundaries for constituencies. The commission has proposed the addition of six new Assembly seats in Jammu while Kashmir has got one new seat, Trehgam, in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district. The proposal will take the number of Assembly seats in Jammu to 43 from the existing 37 and to 47 in Kashmir from 46. The number of Lok Sabha seats has remained unchanged at five, with each having 18 Assembly constituencies. Except for Udhampur, all Lok Sabha constituencies now transcend the district boundaries. Several of the Assembly seats in erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state have vanished that include Sangrama, Shangus, Hom Shali Bugh and Habba Kadal. In Baramulla, the Sangrama and Gulmarg Assembly constituencies have been obliterated and replaced with two new constituencies—Kunzar and Tangmarg. While the number of seats has remained the same in Baramulla, the new structure is seen as inconvenient to voters because of their extended geographical area.
Barring Khanyar, Sonwar and Hazratbal Assembly seats in Srinagar district, all other seats have been redrawn and merged with new Assembly seats that have been carved out, including Channapora and Srinagar South, reveals the proposal. Pulwama, Tral and some areas of Shopian, which formed part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, will now be part of the Srinagar parliamentary seat.
The draft report was shared with the five associate members of the Union Territory, Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi and Akbar Lone (Lok Sabha MPs from the National Conference) and Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore (BJP MPs), on Friday evening for their suggestions. The associate members have been asked to submit their views by February 14 after which the report would be put in the public domain, the officials said.
The commission has ignored the objections filed by the National Conference (NC) on December 31 last year, rejecting the proposal to increase six Assembly seats in the Jammu region as against just one in the Kashmir division. “The associate members of the NC reject this report because whatever we had suggested has been completely rejected. The changes advocated by the commission are unconstitutional and irrational,” said NC spokesperson Imran Dar.
The NC has criticised the Commission for ignoring population as the yardstick for the creation of new constituencies, saying Kashmir division, despite having higher population compared to Jammu, got only one seat. After the completion of the delimitation exercise, the number of Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will go up from 83 to 90. In the erstwhile Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir state, Kashmir had 46 seats, Jammu 37 and Ladakh four.
How LS seats change
Anantnag-Rajouri: Will comprise Rajouri, Poonch, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian
Jammu: Jammu, Samba districts retained, Rajouri and Poonch excluded, Reasi included
Udhampur: Spreads over Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Udhampur and Kathua districts; smallest with 20,98,613 population
Srinagar: Comprises Srinagar, Ganderbal, Budgam, Pulwama and Shopian districts; largest with 26,77,448 population
Baramulla: Includes Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla and parts of Budgam district
Several constituencies vanish
- Many Assembly seats in erstwhile J&K, including Habba Kadal, have vanished
- This seat was seen as a traditional bastion of migrant Kashmiri Pandits
- Barring Khanyar, Sonwar & Hazratbal in Srinagar district, all seats redrawn
- Voters from Habba Kadal will be part of at least 3 Assembly seats in proposed report
Feb 14 deadline
The five associate members (UT MPs) have been asked to submit views by February 14 after which the report will be put in public domain
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New Assembly seats
Jammu: Ramgarh (Samba) | Kathua South | Udhampur West | Doda West | Padder (Kishtwar) | Sunderbani-Kalakot (Rajouri)
Srinagar: Trehgam (Kupwara)
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