The J&K Delimitation Commission, which was constituted on March 6, 2020, not long after Jammu & Kashmir’s special Constitutional position was ended in August 2019, is likely to get a second extension of its term this month. This may further delay any announcement of Assembly elections in the Union Territory.

Official sources said the three-member Commission, headed by retired judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, after sharing its first draft report with five associate members, including three Members of Parliament (MPs) of the National Conference (NC) and two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs, in December 2021, is planning to make its draft proposal public this month for broad-based feedback from J&K’s parties, civil society groups and citizens. With its second tenure nearing an end in the next 34 days, the J&K Delimitation Commission’s members are likely to hold a meeting in New Delhi in the coming days to take a final call on the extension and its period.

Delimitation exercise kicks off in Jammu & Kashmir

Official sources said discussions on the progress of the work would also be held this week in New Delhi. The Commission was granted one year extension in March 2021 after the National Conference (NC) boycotted its meetings, affecting the process of delimitation. The NC decided to participate only after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an all-party meeting in June 2021.

Both NC and BJP members have already submitted their responses on the first draft proposal to the Commission. It remains to be seen if the Commission will incorporate suggestions in the draft proposal likely to be made public. The Commission came into being by virtue of an Act of the Parliament, under the provisions of Part V of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019. It is redrawing boundaries of seven additional seats for the 83-member Assembly.

J&K Delimitation Commission proposes six seats for Jammu, one for Kashmir; earmarks 16 seats for SC, ST

In its first draft proposal, the Commission suggested an increase of six Assembly segments in the Jammu province and one in the Kashmir province. It has also suggested the reservation of seven seats for Scheduled Castes (SC) and nine seats for Schedule Tribes (ST). Most Kashmir-based political parties, including the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party, accused the Commission of “gerrymandering” and termed the report “unacceptable”. The BJP in Jammu, however, welcomed the proposal.