The Government is understood to have conveyed to the Delimitation Commission, engaged in the delimitation of 90 Assembly constituencies for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, to stick to the March 6, 2022 deadline of submitting its report and that no further extension will be granted to it. The Panel, headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, is already on a one-year extension.
According to the sources, though the Delimitation Commission has to complete a lot of work, it has reportedly been conveyed to finish the task in remaining nearly four months on the ground that any further extension to the Panel will give an impression that the Government wants to delay Assembly elections in the Union Territory.
The Delimitation Commission, which comprised Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra and State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma, was set up on March 6, 2020, and assigned the task of delimitation of 90 Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir with a tenure of one year. However, due to the COVID pandemic, the Commission held just one meeting at the fag end of its one-year tenure on February 18, 2021, with Associate Members. It didn’t visit J&K even once during the first term prompting the Law Ministry to extend its term by another year till March 6, 2022.
During an extended period, the full Commission visited Jammu and Kashmir for four days from July 6-9, 2021, covering both Jammu and Kashmir divisions and touring far-flung districts Kishtwar and Anantnag, meeting all District Electoral Officer, representatives of political parties and other stakeholders.
If the Commission submits its report on time, i.e. March 6, 2022, despite all odds, it will assume significance as this will clear the decks for the conduct of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. This is because the polls in the Union Territory can be held only after the delimitation of 90 Assembly seats is final.