In a fast-forward mode ahead of possible mid-term elections, MPs belonging to different political parties have launched an intensive campaign for blocking implementation of the new delimitation regime.
The Justice Kuldip Singh-headed Delimitation Commission of India (DCI) has completed and notified the work in 25 states and readjusted geographical boundaries in 413 Lok Sabha and 3726 assembly constituencies. The report now awaits sanction of President Pratibha Patil.
Exhibiting a bonhomie that is rare in the current political climate, Lok Sabha members having disparate ideological and political affiliations have been promoting the usefulness of the idea of having the next general elections held under the old delimitation arrangement of 1971. Majority of members of the 14th Lok Sabha want implementation on the Justice Singh report to be stalled until the next general elections are over. One way of doing this would be to set up a committee of officials to study the recommendations, said a senior leader of the ruling combine. Terms of reference of the committee are being worked out, sources said.
Delimitation of political constituencies was last conducted in 1971. In the three and a half decades since then, the country’s population is estimated to have done an 87 per cent jump. Huge alternations have therefore been made while re-mapping constituencies. “The exercise has been conducted in a transparent and objective manner and it is now for the union government to implement the report as soon as possible”, Justice Singh told the Hindustan Times.
Hounded by fears of being unable to retain their constituencies in the event of the new delimitation regime being made operative, a section of MPs have also begun to articulate their support to the idea of a mid-term election. Their argument is that while it may be possible to bypass the new delimitation order in the event of a mid-term, it may not be possible for the Union government to postpone the report’s implementation until 2009 – when the next general elections are scheduled.
Constituencies altered/entirely abolished include those represented by high-profile politicians including Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, Rural Development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Heavy Industries Minister Kanti Singh and Environment Minister Namo Narain Meena.