Redrawing of Assembly constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir by the Delimitation Commission was done with the aspirations of the people of the Union Territory in mind and in an “inclusive” and “participative” manner, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said on Thursday.
Mr. Chandra, a member of the three-member Delimitation Commission that published its final award on Thursday, said the panel had been very flexible. He said names of 13 constituencies were changed after the panel received feedback on its draft report published in March.
He said the commission had visited Jammu and Kashmir to interact with stakeholders, including around 800 people during the first visit in 2021 and around 1,500 during the second one in April. Mr. Chandra said the commission addressed the issues of constituencies being split across districts and the smallest administrative unit, the patwar circle, being divided into different seats by ensuring all 90 Assembly constituencies came under one district each and the patwar circle remained intact.
“Ultimately, we have to fulfil the aspirations of the people,” Mr. Chandra said.
The commission’s decision to carve out a Lok Sabha seat with areas from Jammu region and Kashmir Valley called Anantnag-Rajouri had come in for criticism from political parties, including the National Conference.
Mr. Chandra said the commission saw the two regions as “integrated” and that the five Lok Sabha constituencies now had 18 Assembly seats each.
On the matter of elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Chandra said the Centre would first appoint a date from which the delimitation order would come into effect, after which the Election Commission would have to rationalise the polling stations and revise the electoral rolls, before conducting meetings with stakeholders.