JK’s electoral process initiates

Jammu Tawi, May 22|

CM Sharma

With the Delimitation Report formally taking effect from May 20, 2022, by a notification by the Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India, the Delimitation exercise has come to end.

Digging into the “what’s next” question, the Northlines have tried to answer people. As per reports, there is still a lot of exercises to put in the process and a good amount of work has to be done.

Sources and political pundits said that the next step in the process falls in the domain of the Election Commission of India that will now start the process of preparing and updating the electoral rolls for the  restructured Legislative Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies as per the Delimitation Commission’s final report.

The Election Commission of India will begin the rationalising of polling stations, as the areas and names of some constituencies have changed. The Electoral rolls will also have to be updated afresh. It hasn’t been updated over the last over two years due to the delimitation process being underway.

Following this, the Election Commission will have to hold discussions with various stakeholders such as the political parties, the state and central Governments and others.

Incidentally, this process of redrawing of electoral segments by the delimitation commission is protected by law and cannot be challenged in a court. The idea is to avoid unnecessary litigation that could further delay the process. This process was originally envisaged as a once-in-a-decade exercise that would follow the census. Interestingly, the last delimitation carried out in J&K was in 1995, and that was based on 1981 data.

But, the most inquisitive and interesting aspect is to watch out for in the coming days is to how the union government takes the suggestions of Delimitation Commission for giving representation to Kashmiri Pandits and for those displaced persons of Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK).

In the case of Kashmiri Pandits, two seats in the assembly have been recommended to be given to nominated members of the community with full voting rights, at par with what is given to the nominated members in the Puducherry Assembly.

But to adopt these suggestions are not that simple as it sounds. If the Centre decides to accept these suggestions of the delimitation commission and implement them, then it will have to bring a bill in Parliament and pass it into an act before it goes ahead for comprehensive structure of J&K Legislative Assembly.

Further, this process may take a few months and requires some political discussion with other parties before it is completed. These proposals are fraught with political, administrative, reconciliatory as well as law and order challenges, this could consume quite some time before the ensuing polls actually take place on ground in Jammu and Kashmir keeping in view the weather and other factors.

Thus, so far the Delimitation report is concerned, the process is over and follow up actions will be started by the Election Commission of India to hold the elections in Jammu and Kashmir probably within a reasonable time gap of five to six months, of course with a rider that if the suggestive part of the Commission’s report for representation for Kashmiri Pandits and Displaced of PoJK in Assembly is amicably dealt with by the centre in the next monsoon session of the Parliament. 

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