The party has objections to the abolition of some Assembly seats and their merger with other constituencies, besides reservation of some segments and change of boundaries at other places.

SRINAGAR — Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit has said that the party will file objections to the draft proposal that was shared with the associate members by the delimitation commission.

Sources in the Bharatiya Janata Party said that they have prepared a list of objections and will submit the same before February 14.

The sources said that the party has objections to the abolition of some Assembly seats and their merger with other constituencies, besides reservation of some segments and change of boundaries at other places. “The objections from the party will be drafted by a committee in consultation with the Associate Members and then will be submitted to the Delimitation Panel.”

Although other political parties have also raised objections to the draft proposal, “only BJP and the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference can file objections to draft report as these are the only two political parties that have Associate Members in the panel,” sources said.

The associate members include Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma, both BJP MPs from Jammu division and Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone, and Hasnain Masoodi, all three MPs of National Conference from Kashmir valley.

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The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference is also drafting objections and its three Associate Members are expected to meet the commission to submit them.

Sources further added that the objections put in by the Associate Members will be discussed in the Delimitation Commission meeting and the draft report will be made public after the objections are filed.

Since the term of the Delimitation Commission is expiring on March 6, sources said, the Commission will seek an extension of the term as the entire exercise will take more than three months.

Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai, was set up on March 6, 2020. Its term was extended by a year on March 6, 2021.

After the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was downgraded and divided into two federally run Union Territories—Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh—the Union Home Ministry had increased assembly seats of Jammu and Kashmir by seven seats, taking total seats to 114—24 of which are reserved for Pakistan Administered Kashmir while the election will be held for 90 seats.

With the creation of Ladakh as Union Territory, four seats of the region were reduced and the assembly was left with 83 seats. However, with an increase of seven seats, J&K UT will have an assembly of 90 seats. Two women MLAs will be nominated to the House, which was the position earlier as well.

Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, therefore, can be held only after the delimitation of assembly constituencies is completed. Once the delimitation exercise is completed, the number of assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will go up from 83 to 90.

In the previous assembly, Kashmir had 46 seats, Jammu 37, and Ladakh 4.

Delimitation of the assembly constituencies was last held in 1994-95 during the President’s Rule when seats of the erstwhile State Assembly were raised from 76 to 87. Jammu region’s seats were increased from 32 to 37. However, the delimitation was frozen in 2002 by the then National Conference Government headed by Dr Farooq Abdullah in line with the decision taken by the Central Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

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