6 new Assembly segments in Jammu, one in Kashmir: The Tribune India

Samaan Lateef

Srinagar, February 5

The Boundaries Commission proposed major changes in the geographical boundaries of the Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies, undermining the existing electoral political structure of Jammu and Kashmir.

The commission proposed to redesign the parliamentary seat of Anantnag by merging Rajouri and Poonch districts located across Pir Panjal in Jammu province into it. In addition, Srinagar and Baramulla Lok Sabha constituencies have seen major boundary changes.

According to the proposal of the Boundary Commission, several Assembly constituencies in Kashmir have been removed in the process of redefining the constituency boundaries. The commission proposed the addition of six new Assembly seats in Jammu while Kashmir got one new seat, Trehgam, in Kupwara district in North Kashmir. The proposal will increase the number of Assembly seats in Jammu to 43 from the existing 37 and in Kashmir to 47 from 46. The number of seats in Lok Sabha remained unchanged at five, each having 18 Assembly constituencies. With the exception of Udhampur, all Lok Sabha constituencies now cross district boundaries. Several of the Assembly seats in the former state of Jammu and Kashmir have disappeared, including Sangrama, Shangus, Hom Shali Bugh and Habba Kadal. In Baramulla, the Sangrama and the Gulmarg Assembly constituencies were abolished and replaced by two new constituencies, Kunzar and Tangmarg. While the number of seats remained the same in Baramulla, the new structure is seen as inconvenient for voters due to their wide geographical area.

With the exception of Khanyar, Sonwar and Hazratbal Assembly Seats in Srinagar District, all other seats have been redesigned and merged with new Assembly Seats which have been cut out including Channapora and Srinagar South, reveals the proposition. Pulwama, Tral and parts of Shopian, which used to be part of Anantnag Lok Sabha seat, will now be part of Srinagar parliamentary seat.

The draft report was shared with the five Union Territory associate members Farooq Abdullah, Hasnain Masoodi and Akbar Lone (National Conference Lok Sabha MPs) and Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore (BJP MPs) on Friday evening for their suggestions. Associate members were invited to submit their views by Feb. 14, after which the report would be released into the public domain, officials said.

The committee ignored objections filed by the National Conference (NC) on December 31 last year, rejecting the proposal to increase the assembly seats in Jammu region by six to one in Kashmir division. “The Associate Members of the NC reject this report because everything we have suggested has been completely rejected. The changes advocated by the commission are unconstitutional and irrational,” NC spokesman Imran Dar said.

The NC criticized the Commission for ignoring population as a criterion for the creation of new constituencies, saying that the Kashmir division, despite having a higher population than Jammu, only got one seat. After the completion of the delimitation exercise, the number of Assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir will increase from 83 to 90. In the former Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, Kashmir had 46 seats, the Jammu 37 and Ladakh four.

How LS seats change

Anantnag-Rajouri: Will include Rajouri, Poonch, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian

Jammu: Jammu, Samba districts retained, Rajouri and Poonch excluded, Reasi included

Udhampur: Covers Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Udhampur and Kathua districts; the smallest with 20,98,613 inhabitants

Srinagar: Comprises the districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal, Budgam, Pulwama and Shopian; the largest with 26,77,448 inhabitants

Baramula: Includes Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla and parts of Budgam district

Several constituencies disappear

  • Many Assembly seats in the old J&K, including Habba Kadal, have disappeared
  • This seat was considered a traditional stronghold of migrant Kashmiri Pandits
  • Except for Khanyar, Sonwar and Hazratbal in Srinagar district, all seats have been redesigned
  • Habba Kadal voters will be part of at least 3 Assembly seats in proposed report

February 14 deadline

All five associate members (UT MPs) have been invited to submit their views by February 14, after which the report will be released to the public domain.

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New seats in the Assembly

Jammu: Ramgarh (Samba) | South Kathua | West Udhampur | Doda West | Padder (Kishtwar) | Sunderbani-Kalakot (Rajouri)

Srinagar: Trehgam (Kupwara)

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