JAMMU: Two days after the Centre set up a Delimitation Commission to fix boundaries of the Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies in J&K, the National Conference on Sunday said the exercise should be conducted impartially, while the National Panthers Party advocated for more seats in Jammu region.
"Our party believes in democracy and upholding democratic values.
Though the delimitation was supposed to take place in 2026, the process has been initiated and we do not have any objection to it," NC provincial president Devender Rana said here.
He, however, added that the exercise should be carried out as per the law and in an impartial and flawless manner to benefit people who are the real fountainhead of a democracy.
Rana said his party would continue to work to strengthen democracy in the Union Territory.
"We all need to raise above political interests and work together to strengthen unity among the people and between various regions. We must all work for the welfare of the people and mitigate their sufferings and ensure peace, prosperity and development in Jammu and Kashmir," the NC leader told reporters here.
The government on Friday constituted a Delimitation Commission, to be headed by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai to fix boundaries of the Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of J&K and the northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.
Delimitation is the process of fixing boundaries of legislative bodies in the country.
According to section 60 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, "the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114." Out of these 24 seats are in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
So effectively, the seats will go up from 83 to 90.
Referring to the initiation of delimitation process, Chairman JKNPP and former J&K minister Harsh Dev Singh on Sunday said it would be meaningful only if the assembly and Parliament seats for Jammu region were increased.
"The demand for delimitation had been persistently raised by NPP besides other civil society groups in view of a highly biased treatment doled out to Jammu region in the matter of allocation of seats.
"While Jammu region with a geographical area of 26,293 square kilometres had been assigned merely 37 Assembly seats, 46 seats in the assembly had been allocated to Kashmir region with an area of 15,953 square kilometres," Singh pointed out.
"In Kashmir region, the average size of an assembly constituency was 346 square kilometres as against an average size of 710 square kilometres for a Jammu region assembly constituency. Likewise, the Kashmir region had been allocated three parliamentary seats as against two such seats for Jammu region," Singh said.
He said the disparity in seats needed to be removed by assigning due share to both regions of the Union Territory.
Likewise, the BJP's promise in its vision document for providing at least eight out of 24 seats reserved for the POK to migrants of that region settled in Jammu too needed to be fulfilled, he demanded.
Seeking early conclusion of the delimitation process, Singh hoped that the aspirations of Jammu's people for a fair deal in political power would be duly honoured in a time-bound and transparent manner.