After his first cordial meeting with the top 14 leaders of Kashmir on Thursday for the first time since August 2019, Modi government seemed committed to its priority towards successful delimitation of constituencies in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir before the former state goes to polls. Pm tweeted:
"our priority is to strengthen grassroots democracy in j&k. Delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and j&k gets an elected government that gives strength to j&k's development trajectory".
Meanwhile, the key players from the valley namely - national conference, PDP and apni party did not seem to emphasize on restoration of statehood as a precondition for their participation. Elections are due in Kashmir since 2018 when BJP withdrew its support from mehbooba- mufti-led government.
Pm Modi urged the leaders from Kashmir to fully co-operate in the delimitation process or redrawing of boundaries of Lok sabha and assembly seats. However former j&k chief minister Omar Abdullah objected center's move for the delimitation of constituencies after the meeting, calling it unnecessary.
According to Jammu and Kashmir reorganization act 2019, the new legislature in j&k will have 90 seats, seven more than the previous assembly. The strength of the j&k assembly was 87 before 2019, including 4 seats in Ladakh. Of 87 seats, 46 are in Kashmir and 37 in Jammu. As per 2011 census, Kashmir's population is 68 lakh against 53 lakh in Jammu, and this is one of the reason why several groups have been strongly opposing delimitation process based on 2011 census, which will apparently provide for more seats to kashmir.
The delimitation commission is about to hold meetings with concerned political parties and MPs shortly. -