Deve Gowda denies Congress charge on delimitation

Special Correspondent

Says delimitation process is unscientific

“Reserved constituencies should be spread across State”

Bangalore: Taking exception to allegations by Congress leaders that he was behind the elimination of some constituencies in the delimitation process, former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda on Saturday urged Delimitation Commission of India Chairman Justice Kuldip Singh to clarify whether such was the case.

“The Congress leaders are free to use their influence and constitute a new delimitation commission if they are not satisfied with the present exercise,” he told presspersons here.

Mr. Gowda, who is one of the 10 associate members of the commission from Karnataka, along with Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, said he had attended only two of the four meetings held by the commission. During the two meetings, the delimitation of Koppal, Raichur, Bidar and Gulbarga districts had been discussed. He said he would not stoop to the level of trying to eliminate the constituencies of political opponents.

The commission had retained most of the draft proposal prepared by it on January 9, 2006, with some minor modifications. But he was not a member of the commission at that time, he clarified and said the elimination of several constituencies had already been mentioned in the draft proposal.

At the same time, Mr. Gowda said the delimitation exercise was not scientific. He recalled that he had written a letter to the commission on April 29, 2006 expressing dissatisfaction with some of the discrepancies in the delimitation process.

Reserved seats

His main opposition was to the concentration of reserved parliamentary and Assembly seats in the Hyderabad-Karnataka area. He pointed out that seven of the eight Assembly segments in Bellary district had been declared reserved constituencies. This would deprive Dalits in other areas of political opportunities, he observed and said the reserved constituencies should be spread across the State. He suggested that the system of rotation of reserved constituencies, which was being followed by the panchayati raj institutions, be applied to the parliamentary and Assembly constituencies as well. Mr. Gowda said he had even asked Karnataka Home Minister M.P. Prakash to discuss the matter with Congress leaders and adopt a unanimous resolution in the Legislative Assembly seeking that the reserved constituencies be spread across the State.

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