Congress sets up 10-member committee to deal with issues of delimitation in J&K

The Jammu and Kashmir unit of the Congress announced a 10-member committee to deal with the issues of proposed delimitation of parliamentary and assembly constituencies in the Union Territory.

Former minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed was named as chairman of the committee and the members included former deputy chief minister Tara Chand, ex-MP Madan Lal Sharma, former ministers Taj Mohiuddin, R S Chib and M S Niaz, and former legislators Ravinder Sharma and A S Micky.

“The committee will keep track of things on the various aspects of the subject (delimitation exercise) and guide the party in the matter from time to time,” Pradesh Congress Committee president G A Mir said.

He said the sub-committee would also be constituted to regularly deliberate on various technical aspects of the matter.

In March, the Centre constituted a Delimitation Commission, to be headed by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of the Union Territory.

According to Section 60 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, “…the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114…”

Out of these, 24 seats are in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. So effectively, the seats will go up from 83 to 90, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had explained when reporters had asked him about the delimitation process in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir came into being on October 31, 2019 after the state was reorganised and bifurcated into UTs, Ladakh being the other.

Earlier in May, the National Conference rejected the delimitation process, saying its MPs will not participate in the exercise as the party is unwilling to accept the events of last year’s August 5.

“The delimitation commission is a product of the J&K Reorganization Act 2019, which the party is challenging in and outside the Supreme Court. Participating in this Delimitation Commission will be tantamount to accepting the events of 5th August 2019 which the NC is unwilling to do,” the party had said, referring to the nullification of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories by the Centre.

All five Lok Sabha MPs from Jammu and Kashmir – three from the NC and two from the BJP – have been nominated as “associate members” of the Delimitation Commission to assist the panel in redrawing parliamentary and assembly constituencies in the Union Territory.

According to the Constitution of J&K, the NC said the constituencies of the erstwhile state were to be delimited in 2026 with the rest of the country.

“The constituencies in the state were last delimited in the 1990s. Thereafter an amendment was made in the Constitution of J&K unanimously passed in the state Assembly in which all the regional parties, Congress and BJP, voted for this amendment to go with the delimitation with the rest of the country in 2026. Therefore, the constitution of the delimitation commission is unwarranted,” the party had said.