The centre has invited 14 key political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir for the meeting including political heavyweights such as Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti. However, the delimitation of constituencies is crucial for kick-starting any political process in J&K.
What is delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir?
Delimitation is the act of fixing or redrawing the limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies (Assembly or Lok Sabha seat) in a country or a province having a legislative body, as per the Election Commission.
The process involves dividing the country’s total area into smaller units, in order to conduct elections smoothly and efficiently and aim for better governance.
Why is delimitation done?
The delimitation exercise is carried out to represent changes in population over time. The main objective is to redraw boundaries based on the data of the last Census in a way so that the population of all seats, as far as possible, remains the same throughout the State.
• The key aim is to have 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 a number of voters.
• Delimitation exercise has been carried out over the years to redefine the area of a constituency-based on its population size.
• This exercise also involves reservation of Assembly seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in accordance with the Constitution.
• The delimitation exercise in J&K in the past has been slightly different from those in the rest of the country because of the region’s special status.
• The delimitation of Lok Sabha seats was then governed by the Indian Constitution in J&K, but the delimitation of Assembly seats was governed separately by the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957.
• However, Jammu and Kashmir lost its special status and became a Union Territory after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
• Following this, a special delimitation commission was constituted on March 6, 2020 to carve out Assembly and Parliament seats in the union territory.