Home Minister of India Amit Shah has, as expected has included redrawing the long pending delimitation of constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, reported the IANS.
With President’s Rule operational in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah has already had a closed door meeting with Governor Satyapal Malik. He also met Director, Intelligence Bureau Rajiv Jain and Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba. Almost in parallel, it is believed that the J&K Division in the vast swathe of Ministry of Home Affairs may be restructured.
The state has been under President’s Rule since December 18, 2018. This is likely to be extended beyond July 3. The forces have been flushing out local militants and have already notched up 100 kills in the year to date.
On the drawing board is believed to be the action plan for fresh delimitation of constituencies and appointment of a Delimitation Commission. At the very kernel of delimitation is redrawing the scope and size of Assembly constituencies and determine the number of seats to be reserved for SC.
This is, in the main to correct an inequity and anomaly of regional disparity long suffered by Jammu province, and also provide representation to all reserved categories in the State Assembly.
The main grouse of Jammu being that growing imbalance emerging out of composition of various constituencies would continue. Another section of thought is that Kashmir Valley claims that it has no SC or ST while Gujjars, Bakerwals and Gaddies were given Scheduled Tribe status in 1991 and form 11 per cent of the population but have no political reservation.
One needs to be mindful that the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, enacted in 1957, was based on the Maharaja’s Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir of 1939, which was still in force. After accession to India, the State Constituent Assembly was constituted under the 1939 Constitution, but Sheikh Abdullah’s administration arbitrarily carved out 30 seats for Jammu region and 43 seats for Kashmir region and two seats for Ladakh region. This regional disparity became entrenched thereafter: Kashmir (46), Jammu (37) and Ladakh (four).