The members of the Delimitation Commission, who were in Jammu and Kashmir for four days till July 9, met several leaders of national and regional political parties, administrators and civil society groups. The commission is looking at completing the delimitation exercise by March next year.
The commission members visited Srinagar, Pahalgam, followed by a visit to Jammu. The commission met leaders from the Peoples Conference, National Conference (NC), CPI, CPI(M), Panthers Party, Congress, BJP, Apni Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. The commission also met district election officers from Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian.
The purpose of this interaction was to gather first-hand information about the conduct of the mega exercise to carve out new constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. Sources have said that that elections will most likely be held early next year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured leaders from the erstwhile state that elections would be held soon.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Friday said the delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir will be conducted on the basis of the 2011 census. He also said the population is the main criterion, and consideration has to be given to various other factors like geography and topography.
Addressing the media, CEC Sushil Chandra said 24 seats in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) seats will remain vacant and will be not be included in this delimitation.
"We have taken all the demands and recommendations into account, a draft will be prepared and put in the public domain for their comments," he said.
According to the deliberations done by the Delimitation Commission, it has come to fore that there is an overlapping of districts as well as the tehsils in constituencies because of which people faced inconvenience.
BJP leaders in the state have demanded a fair share for Jammu, while the Congress, National Conference, and the Left called for the restoration of statehood.
The J&K BJP wrote to the Delimitation Commission and said undertaking a delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir will be meaningless until full statehood is restored.
BJP J&K president Ravinder Raina also demanded unfreezing the 24 assembly seats falling in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to grant reservations to people displaced from PoK, Kashmir Pandits, SCs and STs.
Delimitation is redrawing of the boundaries of an assembly or Lok Sabha constituency. It is done to reflect the demographic changes in a state, Union Territory or at the national level.
The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir comprises Justice (Retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra, and Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan.