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Opposition in Kashmir to delimitation beyond comprehension
Constitutional requirement
7/5/2019 12:23:44 AM
Early Times Report

JAMMU, July 4: The people of Jammu and Ladakh have been urging the powers-that-be to delimit assembly constituencies de novo strictly in accordance with the criteria as laid down by the Representation of Peoples Act: Area, Population, Nature of Terrain and Accessibility. They have been saying that J&K is the only state in the country where no proper delimitation exercise was undertaken. They are accusing the "vested interests in Kashmir" and their supporters in New Delhi of not "including J&K into the delimitation exercises undertaken in India in 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002". They have also been saying that "the 1995 delimitation exercise in J&K was faulty and the commission arbitrarily earmarked 46 seats for Kashmir, 37 for Jammu and only 4 for Ladakh". They appear to be right.
The argument of the people of Jammu and Ladakh is that "if the people of these two regions are to get a real and effective say in the state polity, a proper and fair delimitation exercise has to be undertaken". The Ladakhi leader wants at least "10 seats" in the assembly. As for the people of Jammu province, they feel that "they deserve at least 46 to 48 seats".
Paradoxically, all the Kashmir-based leaders and their supporters in New Delhi have all joined hands to oppose the very idea of delimitation on the spurious plea that de novo delimitation would mean a move against Kashmir. It's a strange and ridiculous argument. Delimitation is not a concession; it is a constitutional requirement and to oppose it would be only to deny fair and proper representation to Jammu and Ladakh provinces and allow Kashmir excessive and preponderant share of representation in the assembly, the supreme lawmaking body in the state. "As long as delimitation is done on the basis of objective criteria, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it," say the serious and objective J&K-watchers, adding "to merely deny delimitation because the Valley might lose a few seats to Jammu and Ladakh would be an injustice to these two regions".
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