The Delimitation Commission has proposed major changes in the geographical boundaries of the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir.
The commission has proposed redrawing of the Anantnag parliamentary seat by merging into it Rajouri and Poonch districts located across Pir Panjal in Jammu province.
According to the proposal of the Delimitation Commission, several Assembly constituencies in Kashmir have been changed in the process of redrawing boundaries for constituencies. The commission has proposed the addition of six new Assembly seats in Jammu while Kashmir has got one new seat, Trehgam, in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
The proposal will take the number of Assembly seats in Jammu to 43 from the existing 37 and to 47 in Kashmir from 46. The number of Lok Sabha seats has remained unchanged at five, with each having 18 Assembly constituencies. Except for Udhampur, all Lok Sabha constituencies now transcend the district boundaries.
Several of the Assembly seats in erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state have vanished that include Sangrama, Shangus, Hom Shali Bugh and Habba Kadal. In Baramulla, the Sangrama and Gulmarg Assembly constituencies have been obliterated and replaced with two new constituencies—Kunzar and Tangmarg. While the number of seats has remained the same in Baramulla, the new structure is seen as inconvenient to voters because of their extended geographical area.
Barring Khanyar, Sonwar and Hazratbal Assembly seats in Srinagar district, all other seats have been redrawn and merged with new Assembly seats that have been carved out, including Channapora and Srinagar South, reveals the proposal. Pulwama, Tral and some areas of Shopian, which formed part of the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, will now be part of the Srinagar parliamentary seat.
The draft report was shared with the five associate members of the Union Territory, on Friday evening for their suggestions. The associate members have been asked to submit their views by February 14 after which the report would be put in the public domain, the officials said.
The commission has ignored the objections filed by the National Conference (NC) on December 31 last year, rejecting the proposal to increase six Assembly seats in the Jammu region as against just one in the Kashmir division. “The associate members of the NC reject this report because whatever we had suggested has been completely rejected. The changes advocated by the commission are unconstitutional and irrational,” said NC spokesperson Imran Dar.
The NC has criticised the Commission for ignoring population as the yardstick for the creation of new constituencies, saying Kashmir division, despite having higher population compared to Jammu, got only one seat. After the completion of the delimitation exercise, the number of Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will go up from 83 to 90. In the erstwhile Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir state, Kashmir had 46 seats, Jammu 37 and Ladakh four.