‘ASSEMBLY SEATS FOR JAMMU REGION BE ENHANCED’
Jammu: Reminding the ruling BJP of its ‘Vision Document’ released during 2014 Elections as also the statements of its central and state leaders assuring end of politico-economic bias against Jammu region by holding delimitation of Assembly constituencies in J&K, the JKNPP Chairman and Former Minister, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh today sought early action in the matter by bringing appropriate legislation in the upcoming session of parliament. He said that with all legislative powers pertaining to the state vesting in the Parliament under President’s Rule, the BJP should have absolutely no problem in amending sec 47 of the constitution so as to end the freeze imposed upon delimitation in 2001-2002 by the state Assembly. He called for adequate increase in the number of seats for Jammu region in conformity with the loud promises made by BJP which got 25 seats in Assembly and both seats of Parliament from Jammu region. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu today.
Mr. Singh said that assurances for delimitation and for ending regional bias were not only being doled out by the central BJP leadership but the BJP’s Election manifesto released during 2014 Elections also categorically promised early delimitation of Assembly constituencies in J&K so as to ensure justice to Jammu region with 33 % seats reserved for women, five seats for displaced persons of PoJK out of 24 seats reserved for them in the state constitution and three seats for Kashmir migrants.
Lambasting the lackadaisical approach of the govt towards the major demand of Jammu region, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh said that delimitation of constituencies which formed a part of the coalition’s Agenda of Alliance also deserved a priority consideration with early constitution of Delimitation commission so as to make possible the accomplishment of the Delimitation exercise before holding Assembly elections in the state scheduled later this year. He said that delimitation process involving delimitation of constituencies, re-adjustment of territorial boundaries, rotation of reserved seats, identification of seats for fresh reservation, reservation of seats as proposed for women etc should be completed in a time bound manner so that next elections are held as per the census 2011.
Emphasising the urgency to initiate the Delimitation process on war footing, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh said that geographical area, topography, no. of voters, nature of terrain, inaccessibility and poor communication facilities are the factors which weigh heavily in favour of Jammu region and entitle it to a higher number of Assembly constituencies. Quoting the officials statistics, Mr. Singh said that it was ironical that Kashmir valley with a total area of 15953 sq. Kms had 46 Assembly seats as compared to 37 seats for Jammu region whose geographical areas was 26293 sq Kms. He further said that Kashmir region despite well developed communication links and a high road density has one Assembly segment for every 346 sq Kms area, but contrarily Jammu region with its highly tough terrain and acute accessibility problems and an extremely low road density has one assembly segment for every 710 sq Kms. He said that in terms of voters also there are wide disparities with constituencies in Kashmir like Gurez Assembly which has merely 16,000 voters against around two lakh voters of Jammu west and Gandhi Nagar constituencies. He said that Kishtwar region provided the most glaring example of discrimination as its had only two assembly seats with an area of 7824 sq Kms which was half of the area of entire Kashmir region. Likewise District Udhampur, Jammu, Kathua, Rajouri and Poonch also were required to be given additional Assembly seats in view of their entitlement on the basis of prescribed norms governing delimitation.
He said that the centre and state should act promptly as per their assurances and the needful was required to be done at the earliest. He warned of a full scale agitation in case the coalition govt. didn’t initiate the process for Delimitation of Assembly constituencies at the earliest.
Mr. Surinder Chouhan District President (Rural) of JKNPP was also present in the press conference.