NEW DELHI — Members of seven registered political parties met Delimitation Commission on the first day of its visit to the northern Indian Union Territory, Jammu and Kashmir, for beginning the task of carving out new constituencies.

The members of each political party that met handed over a separate memorandum to the commission on July 6.

The Delimitation Commission or Boundary Commission of India was established under the provisions of the Delimitation Commission Act and is tasked with redrawing the boundaries of the various assemblies and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census.

The commission, comprising Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra, and Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan, had scheduled the meeting with political parties on its first day of arrival.

The commission expects all stakeholders to co-operate in providing valuable suggestions so that delimitation completes on time.

Map of Jammu and Kashmir

The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir, set up in March 2020 to redraw the parliamentary and assemblies constituencies, got a one-year extension in March this year from the central government.

The Delimitation Commission Act provides that the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114. The Election Commission will determine the delimitation of the constituencies.

The People’s Democratic Party did not meet Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission. A letter from the People’s Democratic Party addressing the head of the commission stating that the outcome is widely believed to be pre-planned and may further hurt the people’s interest.

The commission is in Jammu and Kashmir till July 9 to interact with union territory administrative officials, political parties, and public representatives.

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Several hours after the meeting, Congress Jammu and Kashmir chief G.A. Mir said that until the Union Territory’s statehood is not restored, the delimitation process will be of no benefit.

“Delimitation is to be done in 2026 in the country, then why it is being done in 2021 in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

“This is a big question. Till Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood is restored, the delimitation will not be beneficial.”

However, on the contrary, Jammu Kashmir Apni Party said it favors the delimitation procedure, and it will fully participate.

“The delimitation process has started, and irrespective of the opinions and agenda of other parties, Jammu Kashmir Apni Party will not step back,” said Usman Maji, vice-president, Jammu Kashmir Apni Party.

“What other parties are saying is their viewpoint and agenda. They [Jammu and Kashmir-based parties] should take part in the delimitation process.”

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Amrita Das and Saptak Datta. Map by Urvashi Makwana)

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