Delimitation assures fair, transparent exercise in J&K

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Apart from 2011 census, other factors like geographical compactness, public conveniences, communication etc., also be considered

By Bunty Mahajan

Jammu: Dispelling apprehensions among many in Kashmir over the delimitation exercise being pre-planning, Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai on Friday assured that it will act in a fair and transparent manner. 

Pointing out that delimitation is a very complex issue and not mere arithmetic, Chief Election Commissioner Sushi Chandra, a member of the Delimitation Commission while talking to media persons here, said that it will first prepare a draft after taking into account all the suggestions and inputs received from people and put the same in public domain for objections and queries. The views of the associate members of the commission will also be taken into account while preparing the draft and put in public domain.

We have also directed the UT Chief Secretary to nominate a nodal officer of the rank of Additional Deputy Commissioner for receiving representations from public and forward them to the Commission. “Our purpose is that everyone who wants to give any suggestion shall send it to us,’’ he said while pointing out that people can send their representations to the Commission directly as well. “The Commission will definitely examine all the suggestions,’’ he added.

“We all have come with an open mind to listen to the concerns of everyone. We welcome all those who have given their views,’’ he said, adding that “we expect everyone comes and give their views,’’ he said to a question about PDP not meeting them and describing the entire exercise a farce.

Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai said “I generally assure you that the exercise is going to be transparent and by the letter of the law’’. “And that is why we have come here to listen to the people, otherwise we would not have come, staying for two-three days and talking to so many people,’’ she added.

The Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra and State Election Commissioner (SEC) KK Sharma, met political leaders on July 6 and July 7 in Kashmir. The Commission met delegates in Jammu on July 8 and July 9.

The political parties have been expressing fear that the Delimitation Commission will act against the Muslim majority in J&K.

 “We had meetings in Srinagar, we had meetings in Pahalgam, we had meetings in Kishtwar and Jammu. We heard people up to 10:30 p.m. because of the overwhelming response from the people.”

People were happy to meet the Commission as it was the first-time people from the ground were given such an opportunity. “Many persons travelled from a long distance to give representation,” he added.  He said the tribals were for the first time given representation and they put forward their views on how reservation is to be done.

“Though the population is the main criteria for the delimitation, the attention must be given to the geographical area, topographical difficulties, communication challenges, and public convenience,” he added.  He said the visit of the commission was to ascertain the ground realities. “It is not arithmetical exercise, it is not mathematical exercise, it was to know genuine concerns of the public, to know the genuine difficulties of the people.”

 “We will keep in mind the census of 2011. As per the Delimitation Act, we have to go by the latest census available,” he said, adding the Act guarantees due representation to the SC and ST categories.