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Delimitation Commission proposes 6 additional seats for Jammu, 1 for Kashmir; reserves SC/ST seat for first time

The Delimitation Commission on Jammu and Kashmir has proposed six additional seats for Jammu region while one more assembly seat for Kashmir Valley, the sources said here on Monday.

The sources also said that the Commission arrived at the proposal to add more seats after the discussion with its five associate members held on Monday.

The Commission, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, had a meeting with the five Lok Sabha members from Jammu and Kashmir for the consultations and were asked to respond to the proposal by December 31 this year.

The five associate members — Union Minister Jitendra Singh, Jugal Kishore from BJP, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi and Mohammad Akbar Lone attended the meeting.

For the first time, the Commission has also proposed to reserve nine seats for the Schedule Tribe and seven seats for the Schedule Castes in the UT, the sources further said, adding that earlier there were no reserved seats for STs and SCs.

If the recommendations are implemented, the Jammu region will have 43 seats while the Kashmir Valley will have 47 seats.

Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra is an ex-officio member of the panel along with the chief electoral officer of J&K to re-structure the assembly seats in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in a view to give fair opportunity to candidates after the sizable increase in the population.

A Special Delimitation Commission was constituted on March 6, 2020 to redraw the Assembly and Parliament seats in the UT after the special status under Article 370 was revoked from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019.

The Commission met several leaders of national and regional political parties, administrators and civil society groups in Jammu and Kashmir in July and the exercise is being conducted on the basis of the 2011 census.

The key aim is to set up a Delimitation Commission to give equal representation to equal segments of the population in order to ensure a fair division of geographical areas so that all political parties or candidates contesting elections have a level playing field in terms of number of voters.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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