SULTANPUR’s omission and making Shajahanpur a reserved seat on the list of proposed Lok Sabha constituencies generated quite a heat at the Delimitation Commission hearing at Gandhi Bhawan here today.
“If you have to abolish any constituency, scrap Amethi,” said agitated Bahujan Samaj Party MP Mohammad Tahir Khan, who represents the Sultanpur Lok Sabha seat.
As this evoked strong protests, the Sultanpur MP had to eat his words. “Restore Sultanpur and don’t abolish any other seat,” he said later.
Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy, who along with the State Election Commissioner Aparamita Prasad Singh and others heard the complaints, however, said everybody was free to make his point. As Khan had withdrawn his words, the issue was closed, said the CEC.
Significantly, many of those who protested against the BSP MP’s suggestion, had themselves come to support the demand of restoring Sultanpur Lok Sabha seat. Yet they did not agree with his suggestion as Rahul Gandhi represented the Amethi Lok Sabha seat.
His Lok Sabha seat has been divided into three parts and merged in three different Lok Sabha seats, said Khan adding, “This is a question of Sultanpur’s identity.”
Besides him local office bearers and workers of other political parties, including the BJP and Congress, too protested against the proposal to scrap Sultanpur Lok Sabha seat. Senior Congress leader Sanjay Singh said he had given suggestions in writing to save the seat. BJP MLA Om Prakash Pandey said the seat should not be abolished under any circumstances as this may lead to scrapping of the Sultanpur district as well.
Some apprehended that this was being done to make Amethi a district. BSP leader Jia Lal Tyagi was also among those who said Amethi could be made a district without scrapping Sultanpur.
Other sitting MPs who could be seen strongly making their point included Jitin Prasada whose Shahjahanpur Lok Sabha seat has been reserved. Shahjahanpur did not figure on the reservation list in the initial proposals.
The boundaries of Aonla and Budaun Lok Sabha constituencies were later redrawn to bring down the schedule caste population there, said Jitin adding that the manner in which the same had been done did not speak high of the entire process of reservation.
No major complaints were, however, made against the proposed changes being made in the Amethi and Rae Bareli Lok Sabha seats. Rakesh Bahadur Singh from Rae Bareli, however, demanded that Sareni assembly seat be renamed as Lalganj. Others said all three Lok Sabha seats around Rae Bareli had been reserved. Hence Harchandpur, Mohanlalganj and Barabanki Lok Sabha seats should be taken out of the reservation list, they said.
A close scrutiny of Delimitation Commission’s hearing revealed that most of complaints focused on alteration of boundaries or change in the reservation status.
Significantly, there were hardly any complaints with regard to Lucknow that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee represented in Lok Sabha. BJP MLA Suresh Kumar Srivastava, however, said there was no justification in taking out the Chowk ward from Lucknow West assembly seat and merge the same in the new Lucknow North seat. If BJP leaders were to be believed, the change was going to benefit Leader of the Opposition Lalji Tandon.
There were also complaints against scrapping of Sarojini Nagar assembly seat that had been named after Sarojini Naidu. A demand to link the Mall Kanungo Circle with the Bakshi-Ka-Talab constituency was also made.
Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) spokesman Veerendra Madan demanded that the delimitation of the constituencies should be done on the basis of new delimitation of wards. There were also complaints against de-linking of Baheri assembly seat from Bareilly Lok Sabha seat and making it a part of Pilibhit Lok Sabha seat.
Former union minister of state for Home Ram Lal Rahi demanded that the delimitation of 1971 should be accepted again and this would solve all the problems.