SRINAGAR: Former Union Minister Saifuddin Soz on Tuesday said the Centre should undertake the delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir only after the Union Territory elects a legislative assembly to prevent arbitrary distribution of seats.
The Congress leader's remarks came a day after Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora named Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra as his nominee for the proposed Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir.
"The Union Home Ministry has prioritised to institute Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission. This is on expected lines," Soz said in a statement here.
On the provision for increasing the number of seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly in the J-K Reorganisation Act, 2019, he said, "The implication lies in the distribution of seats between Jammu and Kashmir."
"In my opinion, the best course available to the Union Home Ministry is to wait for a democratically elected Legislative Assembly, where the subject will be discussed to be followed by the decision. Otherwise, the system can suffer considerable tension," he added.
Soz appealed to the people of Kashmir to put forth their arguments for a fair share of the assembly seats for the valley in a democratic and constitutional manner.
"They will succeed that way only. I want to remind the people that the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, which forbade delimitation till 2031, is no longer in existence," he said.
According to the J-K Reorganisation Act, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly will have seven more seats after the delimitation exercise.
Before Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act in August last year, the effective strength of the Assembly was 87, including four seats falling in Ladakh region which is now a separate Union Territory without a legislature.
Twenty-four seats of the Assembly continue to remain vacant as they fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.