Delimitation Panel Accepts Suggestions On Habba Kadal, Suchetgarh Seats

Members of the J&K Delimitation Commission at a news conference in Jammu | File Photo

Srinagar- As the Delimitation Commission is wrapping up its work in Jammu and Kashmir, the reports have suggested that the commission has redrawn some of its draft proposals as it has incorporated some changes that were earlier suggested by its five associate members.

Pertinently, the commission has asked the associate members to submit their response by March 4 after which the final draft would be put in the public domain.

Five Lok Sabha members from Jammu and Kashmir -- Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference and Jugal Kishore Sharma and Jitendra Singh of the BJP -- are the panel's associate members.

As per reports, the panel had met on Thursday and accepted most of the suggestions of the associate members after due consideration.

Following the redrawn draft proposals, the commission has opened the Poonch Assembly segment and instead reserved Rajouri for Scheduled Tribes and merged parts of RS Pura with Jammu-South seat to rename it as RS Pura-Jammu South while restoring Suchetgarh constituencies.

Earlier, RS Pura was reserved for SCs. RS Pura-Jammu South is now an open seat and Suchetgarh is the seventh constituency reserved for SCs. Six others are Marh, Akhnoor, Bishnah, Samba, Kathua South and Ramnagar.

The Delimitation Commission is understood to have acceded to the suggestion of both National Conference and the BJP to restore Habbakadal Assembly constituency in Srinagar district which has sizeable electorates of Kashmiri Pandits and restore the name of Inderwal seat in Kishtwar district from Mughal Maidaan.

The commission has also redrawn boundaries of several other Assembly segments including Poonch, Mendhar, Surankote, Thanna Mandi, Rajouri, Banihal, Marh, Jammu North etc.

Notably, five seats reserved for STs in Jammu region are Surankote and Mendhar in Poonch district and Rajouri, Darhal and Thanna Mandi in Rajouri district. Four seats are reserved for STs in Kashmir division, totaling nine.

Reports have also suggested that BJP MP's suggestion for inclusion of Shopian into Anantnag-Poonch Parliamentary constituency has been rejected, besides rejecting NC's objection for inclusion of Poonch district and parts of Rajouri district in South Kashmir Parliamentary segment.

The reports have also suggested that the commission has accepted the BJP's suggestion for de-reservation of at least one Assembly seat in Poonch district as all three constituencies there were reserved for Scheduled Tribes. Poonch-Mandi constituency has been de-reserved and declared as a general seat.

Kot Patwar Circle of Raipur Domana whose four Panchayats had been clubbed with Marh (SC Reserve) seat in the draft report have now been merged with Jammu North Assembly constituency.

Doongi, Suhana, Bagla and Fatehpur Panchayats which were part of newly created Thanna Mandi Assembly segment in Rajouri district have been clubbed with Rajouri Assembly seat as they were part of Rajouri tehsil.

Poonch Patwar Halqas of Mandi block which had been included in Surankote constituency in the draft report have again been made part of Poonch-Mandi segment. Similarly, some Halqas of Mendhar segment which were incorporated in Surankote have been reversed to Mendhar. Sangaldan area has now been included in Banihal Assembly seat of Ramban district while Tangar belt of Banihal has been shifted to Ramban seat.

The Commission is likely to meet five Associate Members and brief them about their suggestions/objections which have been accepted or rejected. After the meeting, it is believed that the commission will put its report in public domain for inviting claims and objections.

Earlier sources had told Kashmir Observer that the Delimitation Commission will put its final draft along with the objections of the associate members in public domain and will start to seek objections and opinion from the public and political parties for a specified time, probably in the month of March.

Pertinently, in its first draft proposal, the Assembly seats in the Jammu division were increased from 37 to 43 and in Kashmir from 46 to 47. Almost all parties had expressed strong resentment over the panel’s proposals and had rejected it.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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