JAMMU, Mar 23: Welcoming the decision of MHA appointing Delimitation Commission for newly formed UT of Jammu & Kashmir under the chairmanship of former Supreme Court Judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, Brig Anil Gupta, Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party hoped that the Commission would soon commence its work and begin to redraw the constituency boundaries including earmarking of reserved constituencies. The people of the UT, particularly Jammu region, are pinning their hopes on the Delimitation Commission to end the arbitrary imbalance in sharing of legislative assembly seats thrust upon them by the previous governments under the garb of Articles 370 and 35A to ensure that Kashmir exercised the administrative control over the erstwhile State, asserted Brig Gupta.
Since the Delimitation is to be done on the basis of Census-2011, whose figures are challenged by many for its accuracy, it would be unfair to conduct the delimitation based on population ratio only. The UT has unique features of geography, topography, population, accessibility and connectivity which would have to be taken into consideration by the Commission. In the existing arrangement though Jammu region has more hilly area and less road length compared to Kashmir region yet the later has nine more seats 46 as compared to 37 for Jammu, rued Brig Gupta. It would allay the fear of those who question how did Kashmir’s population increase by 14, 11,000 (26%) from 2001 to 2011 as compared to Jammu’s 9,49,000 (21%)? As per census-2011, the difference between the population of the two regions Jammu & Kashmir is 15, 09,000 despite insurgency and migration from Kashmir raising doubts on the Census Organisation, stated Brig Gupta.What raises eyebrows is the abnormal growth of 251% in Kashmir’s population during 1981 to 2001, a period of two decades @ 125% per decade? Pointing out another glaring anomaly in the Census 2011, Brig Gupta said that as per the census report total Hindu population of Kashmir is given as 1,59,373, the male population is given as 1,43,808 (90.25%) compared to female population as 15642 (9.75%) only.
With better road network and accessibility in Kashmir, the average area of an assembly constituency is 347 square kilometres (15948/46=346.69), while in Jammu it is 711 (26293/37=710.62).Thus, diverse geographical conditions of the UT would need to be considered along with population ratio to meet the genuine aspirations of the people to end regional hegemony.
Brig Gupta has also clarified that BJP is against any form of political reservations based on communal or religion basis. Quoting PM Modi who had said that “Religion based reservation will ultimately break the nation” and Home Minister and former BJP President Amit Shah’s statement, “BJP will never allow religion based quota,” Brig Gupta said that Commission should reserve seats only for the SCs and STs as mandated by the Reorganisation Act 2019. However, BJP would welcome representation to KPs, Muslims, POJK and West Pakistan refugees and ex-servicemen through nomination on the pattern of nominating women members by the LG.