Prime Minister Narendra Modi put all speculation about early elections in Jammu and Kashmir to rest when he said on Saturday that electoral processes in the newly-carved Union Territory will begin only after the delimitation commission’s work is done.
Speaking at the Red Fort on the occasion of India’s 74th Independence Day, the PM said, “Work towards delimitation in J&K is ongoing; and as soon as it is done, let there be MLAs, ministers and chief minister for J&K.”
Since the Abrogation of Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed two extended lockdowns. The first of these was announced soon after the Abrogation on August 5 of last year while the second was enforced on account of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Hridesh Kumar, Chief Election Officer (CEO) of the J&K Election Commission told India Today, “The commission sought substantial details from us in various forms like maps, statistics, Census-2011 figures, new tehsils, patwars and halqas in J&K. The information has been compiled and shared from all 20 districts.”
Delimitation likely to tilt the balance in favour of Jammu
The Delimitation Commission has time till March 6, 2021. Sources say there is still sufficient time left for the commission to complete its process. The number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of J&K will be increased from 107 to 114 along with the delimitation of the constituencies. As many as 24 seats in the J&K Assembly remain perennially vacant since they were allocated to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK).