NEW DELHI: The long-pending demand of the BJP for delimitation of Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir was discussed during a meeting between Home Minister Amit Shah and J&K Governor Satyapal Malik last Saturday, a government official said on Tuesday.
Though details of the meeting were not immediately known, a full presentation is said to have been made on the present situation in the militancy-hit state with officials of the MHA led by Home Secretary Rajeev Gauba and officials of the state government and intelligence agencies participating.
Officials said Shah discussed the constitution of a delimitation committee to resize the Assembly segments and determine the number of seats to be reserved for Scheduled Castes, so as to set right the perceived regional imbalance.
The meeting came at a time when the state BJP unit has been raising the issue of withdrawal of a 16-year-old freeze on carrying out delimitation so that Jammu gets a larger share of seats in the 87-member state Assembly. As of now, the Kashmir region has 46 seats, Jammu 37 and Ladakh four.
Speculation on possible delimitation in J&K coincided with an Election Commission communique that said stalled elections to the state Assembly will be announced after the Amarnath Yatra, which is scheduled to end in mid-August.
According to EC officials, the delimitation exercise could be wrapped up in six months. “Given the situation, it could take up to six months,” they said. However, they were unable to specify if elections would be held to the existing constituencies, or after the delimitation exercise is over.
“A freeze on delimitation has been applied to the entire country until 2026... it isn’t just a J&K specific freeze,” NC leader Omar Abdullah said in a tweet