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‘Far From Reality’: Kashmiri Netizens React to Delimitation Commission Draft

‘Far From Reality’: Kashmiri Netizens React to Delimitation Commission Draft

https://twitter.com/Nitish_Sudan/status/1490652018490617860

Document is not rationally prepared, a netizen argues, it demonstrates an unscientific approach.


Apart from political parties, Kashmiri netizens are arguing that the draft proposed by the Delimitation Commission is far from reality, given the geographical inaccuracies with the unnatural merger of areas.

Document is not rationally prepared, argues netizen Ibrahim Javaid Shah. “It demonstrates an unscientific approach.”

The debate started after the J&K Delimitation Commission—headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and J&K State Election Commissioner KK Sharma—redrew the electoral map of the bifurcated region with its second draft.

It has reconfigured and renamed 28 new Assembly constituencies and deleted 19 Assembly segments. The commission has also proposed to redraw all the five Lok Sabha seats. 

The Delimitation Commission panel also has five associate members — National Conference (NC) MPs Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh, and BJP leader from Jammu Jugal Kishore Sharma.

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But while the likes of Shah are trashing the draft, news anchor Rahul Shivshankar hoped that ‘inclusive’ National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party aren’t opposing draft of J&K Delimitation Commission “just because there is a statistical possibility J&K could have a Hindu CM if statehood is restored & polls are held? They must surely know Hindu majority states have had Muslim & Christian CMs.”

While the draft has been dismissed by the J&K parties as “disempowering”, former parliamentarian Tariq Hameed Karra has termed it a very successful exercise of “pitting people against each other on religious and ethnic lines”.

Notably, the Jammu division currently has 37 Assembly seats and Kashmir 46 seats. As per the new draft, Jammu province gets 6 new segments, while Kashmir gets one. 

Amid the raging reactions over the “discriminatory approach”, Kashmir’s senior newsman, Mufti Islah shared an interesting take on the whole exercise.

“My friend is crazy about Psephology but I told him he is doing maths ONLY. The delimitation panel draft proposal got him worked up. He was busy with number crunching today and has passed on some figures based on his research. Sharing below,” Islah wrote on his Twitter handle.

Sharing the conversation, Islah said: 

“Kathua and Kupwara are set to get 6 assembly seats each. As per the 2011 census, Kathua has a population of 6.16 lakh to Kupwara’s 8.75 lakh, 2.6 lakh less. Kupwara is smaller in size at 2379 sq km to Kathua’s 2502 sq km. But it is at an elevation of 5300 ft to Kathua’s 1289 ft.

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For 3.19 lakh residents, Samba has 3 seats to 2 each in Shopian & Ganderbal for 2.66 & 2.95 lakh folks. An MLA would represent 1.06 lakh in Samba, better than his counterparts representing 1.32 and 1.48 lakh in Shopian/G’bal. Samba is smaller than Gbal but bigger than Shopian.

Budgam and Rajouri are getting 5 seats each, 7.53 lakh souls live in Budgam, 6.42 lakh in Rajouri. Budgam is at 5281 feet to 3000 ft average elevation of Rajouri, though areawise the latter is double (2630 sq km) than latter. (1361 sq km).

More than six lakh people in Kathua will have six MLAs as against 7 each for more than 10 lakh citizens in Anantnag and Baramulla – the third and fourth biggest districts in J&K. Do maths for representative to persons.

As per the draft proposal, Kishtwar will have three seats for 2.30 lakh residents while Bandipore will have ONLY two for 3.9 lakh people. Thankfully Gurez (near LoC) which remains inaccessible for 5 months due to heavy snow is an assembly segment.

Poonch and Reasi are likely to get 3 seats each. Poonch has more than 1.60 lakh residents (4.77 lakh) than Reasi (3.14). Ramban’s 2.83 lakh citizens will vote for two seats.

Jammu will bag 11 seats for 15.30 lakh residents (an MLA for 1.39 lakh souls) to 8 for Srinagar’s 12.36 citizens. (One MLA for 1.54 lakh).

Overall 47 seats for 67.31 lakh souls for Kashmir and 43 seats for 52.15 lakh for Jammu as per the 2011 census. Calculate and compare the overall representation in the two regions, he says. Told him I am not good at maths.”

But those supporting the proposal argue that the exercise was done based on area, not population.

“JK National Conference party rejects the Delimitation Commission draft report giving 6 Assembly seats more to Jammu and one to Kashmir. How? They harp only on population which is more in Kashmir. But, even now Kashmir gets 47 Assly seats against 43 of Jammu. And, NC ignores AREA,” argues Subhash Baru, a Jammu-based journalist.

Earlier, JKNC summarily rejected draft working paper made available by Delimitation Commission. 

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The commission has also suggested distributing the 18 Assembly segments among the five Lok Sabha constituencies of JK.

One Lok Sabha seat has been recommended by merging three geographically disjointed districts — Kulgam, Anantnag, Shopian — of south Kashmir in Kashmir and two districts in the Jammu province’s Pir Panjal valley — Rajouri and Poonch. 

Named as ‘Anantnag-Rajouri’ seat, this seat will comprise a significant population of non-Kashmiri speaking ST Assembly segments, with six of the nine Assembly segments reserved for the STs.

Many question the commission’s wisdom for linking Pir Panjal with south Kashmir. 

“After Delimitation Jammu-Poonch Parliament Constituency can be Rajouri-Anantnag Parliament Constituency now. PeerPanjal & South Kashmir coming together. #JammuKashmir Ab Poonch Ko kidhar Ghaseita ha? #DelimitationCommission #Poonch,” a tribal leader said.

Among the obliterated segments including Sangrama, Srinagar has lost some prominent seats making people react sharply over the draft. 

“Batamaloo pronounced as Batamalyun named on popular Sufi Saint Sheikh Dawood Sahib popularly known as Batmoul Sahib. Delimitation Commission should have honoured the sentiments of the people of #Batmaloo and kept alive the name Batmaloo Assembly,” said Noor Mohammad Sheikh, a political activist.

But amid the flak, some are throwing their weight behind the recommendations. 

“I have read the draft of delimitation commission and I am satisfied with that. Why there is so hue and cry let them redraw the boundaries but it’s we people who have to vote, and we know whom to vote and whom to throw into bin. So chill and end these meaningless debate,” said Imran Farhat, a youth leader from Chenab Valley.

https://twitter.com/ImranFarhat55/status/1490338352909873154

But in the din of debates, the ruling party’s state supporters are being chided for “losing” parts of Jammu to Kashmir.

“To all the BJP workers who are justifying recommendations of the #DelimitationCommission for merger of Rajouri-Poonch with Anantnag LS seat…”

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