The opposition Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday came down heavily on the Congress for its leaders’ recent statements asking to increase the number of Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies in the state.
The state Congress president Kishore Upadhyay had recently proposed an increase in the number of assembly constituencies in the state from the existing 70 to 101. Upadhyaya also proposed that the number of parliamentary constituencies be increased to 11 instead of the existing five.
The BJP said the ruling party has initiated this campaign keeping an eye on the next assembly elections due in 2017. “The delimitation card that this (Congress) party is playing is its desperate attempt to retrieve its mass base in the hills before the next assembly polls,” state BJP spokesperson Prakash Suman Dhyani told HT.
“The party could have easily retained its mass base in the hills had its government represented with the Centre against the delimitation as the Northeastern states successfully did,” Dhyani said. “It (Congress) could have easily done that as it had then been ruling both at the Centre and the state.”
Dhyani alleged that by playing the delimitation card the Congress was now trying to kill two birds with one stone. “First, the ruling party was trying to divert the people’s attention from the allegations of misuse of funds meant for reconstruction in areas that were ravaged by the 2013 deluge. Besides, it hopes to retrieve its mass base in the hills that it lost post the 2006 delimitation,” the BJP leader said.
State BJP general secretary Prakash Pant reiterated Dhyani’s claims. “The ruling party sees in that (legislative council) an opportunity to oblige its workers by offering them the council membership, which would help it in effectively preparing for the polls,” he said.
Pant said the Congress’s dream of carrying out delimitation would remain just a dream as the ruling party lacked majority in the Lok Sabha. “It needs majority as delimitation wouldn’t be possible without amending the Uttar Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2000,” he added.
The Congress, however, rubbished the allegations. “Two years are still left for the (assembly) elections,” state Congress spokesperson Surendra Kumar said. “We have proposed delimitation of the constituencies as it would pave the way for development in the hills, which would help check forced migration. Legislative council too will serve the same purpose,” Kumar said.