Jammu, 09-12-2021: “While the process of delimitation of 4121 assembly constituencies of 28 states of the country and 539 parliamentary constituencies was completed by Justice Kuldeep Singh led Delimitation commission within a period of 4 years, it is ironical to note the lack of any progress achieved by the present delimitation commission in delimiting barely 90 assembly constituencies of J&K despite a lapse of 21 months from the date of its constitution”. This was stated by Mr Harsh Dev Singh chairman JKNPP and former minister while addressing a press conference in Jammu today.
While speaking to media persons, Mr Harsh Dev divulged that Delimitation commission was constituted by the president of India under the chairmanship of Justice Kuldeep Singh for delimiting the parliamentary as well as assembly constituencies across the country on 12 July 2002. “The said commission completed its job in 2006 by delimiting and re-adjusting the territorial boundaries of all parliamentary and assembly constituencies including rotation of reserved seats for SC and ST in the country except J&K within a period of 4 years. The job was herculean but the said commission accomplished it fearlessly and impartially in the shortest possible duration thus upholding the democratic traditions and constitutional values. It was unfortunate however that the present Delimitation commission constituted on March 6, 2020 had failed to record any tangible progress till date. This had given rises to speculations that it was acting on the dictations of BJP govt to delay the process and ultimately to delay the revival of democracy in J&K”, observed Singh.
“The Delimitation Commission which was formed in March, 2020 with a tenure of one year had merely conducted one meeting with Associate members during its original term thereby necessitating its extension for additional one year. And though the said Commission comprising even the Chief Election Commissioner of India visited J&K in July last to take the feedback from various stakeholders assuring early completion of the process, not a word was heard in this regard from the said body during the past around five months. With the ECI now concentrating on holding Elections in various other states of the country much before the expiry of the term of the respective govts therein, the erstwhile state of J&K deprived of democratic govt for the last more than three years did not appear to be finding the desired attention of either the poll bodies or the centre”, asserted Singh.
Mr. Singh said that while delimitation of new DDC constituencies in J&K was effected in 2020 within one week by the present dispensation, the helmsmen had failed to come out with any convincing explanation for the inordinate delay in delimiting Assembly constituencies. He said that with delimitation delayed and denied, political process having been rendered defunct in J&K and political parties discredited and discouraged, the centre seemed to be hell-bent to deprive J&K of a democratically elected govt.
Asserting that the BJP govt at the centre was averse to not only holding delimitation in J&K but also to Elections, Mr. Singh said that it wanted to continue its proxy rule in the new UT and retain all powers to itself. He said that the people of J&K were being deprived of their democratic rights of having a duly elected govt of their choice. The last elections in J&K having been held in 2014, the BJP govt still seemed dis-inclined to hand over power to the people even after a lapse of several years thus giving a fatal blow to the democratic values enshrined in the Indian constitution.
With the last Assembly having been dissolved in 2018, the elections to legislature were required to be held immediately thereafter in consonance with the rule of law. The BJP regime however not only defied the democratic norms and procedures but also overlooked the basic law enunciated by the Supreme Court which envisaged holding of “Assembly elections within 6 months in all states where Assemblies were prematurely dissolved”.
With uncertainty looming large over the delimitation of constituencies, the UT of J&K was doomed to be governed by proxies from outside the state having hardly any accountability to the masses whom they ruled. Asserting that delimitation commission was an autonomous body constituted under Art 82 of the constitution of India, it needed to act impartially and independently without any interference of the govt.