Stalin: Delimitation a Damocles sword hanging over head of TN, southern states

Sep 20, 2023 07:16 PM IST

The DMK has backed the bill in principle but CM Stalin questioned the decision to connect the proposed law with the delimitation process

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin reiterated his support for the Women’s Reservation Bill, which was introduced in Parliament on Wednesday, but raised concerns about delimitation of Lok Sabha seats, calling it a “Damocles sword” hanging over Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin (File photo)
Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin (File photo)

Stalin urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allay fears among southern states that the exercise will reduce their representation in Parliament.

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The debate around delimitation, or the determination of boundaries for assembly and parliamentary constituencies, has been reignited because the women’s quota bill would be implemented after the delimitation process is completed.

In 2001, the 84th amendment to the Constitution had extended the freeze on delimitation till 2026.

“It is unjust that Southern states, which diligently followed the Union government’s policies to control population growth, may face punitive measures during the constituency delimitation,” Stalin said in a statement on Wednesday.

Also Read: Women’s quota bill cleared by Cabinet

Stalin said delimitation is a “Damocles sword” hanging over the head of “Tamil Nadu and South India.”

“We will have to defeat the political conspiracy of increasing the number of MPs based on population and reducing the political representation of South India. The attempt to render injustice to a politically aware Tamil Nadu should be nipped in the bud….I urge the Prime Minister to provide assurance that Southern states, particularly Tamil Nadu, will not experience a reduction in representation during the impending delimitation process based on population,” Stalin said.

While the DMK has backed the bill in principle, Stalin questioned the decision of the government to connect the proposed law with the delimitation process for which no dates have been announced.

“Regrettably, the current bill’s effectiveness is contingent on the completion of the delayed census and subsequent delimitation process in 2026, thereby postponing its realisation until 2029. People are clever enough to see through BJP’s empty rhetoric,” Stalin said.

Referring to other legislations such as the Citizenship Amendment Act, 10% quota for economically weaker sections, and the revocation of special status for Jammu and Kashmir passed in the last nine years under the BJP-led Union government, Stalin said it was “strange” that the national party did not pass the woman’s quota bill earlier.

He accused the BJP of not engaging stakeholders and pushing for the Bill ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections. “Defeat is haunting the BJP. They are trying to show this 33% reservation bill as their achievement,” he said.

AIADMK, the primary opposition party in Tamil Nadu, whose relationship with the BJP has been strained recently, also supported the bill.

AIADMK general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami (EPS) on Wednesday said that his party had increased women’s reservation in local bodies from 33% to 50% when they were in power. “AIADMK pioneered in providing reservation for women… I welcome the new Bill which is for the whole of India,” EPS posted on X (formerly Twitter) tagging only the Prime Minister’s office and not the BJP.

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    Divya Chandrababu is an award-winning political and human rights journalist based in Chennai, India. Divya is presently Assistant Editor of the Hindustan Times where she covers Tamil Nadu & Puducherry. She started her career as a broadcast journalist at NDTV-Hindu where she anchored and wrote prime time news bulletins. Later, she covered politics, development, mental health, child and disability rights for The Times of India. Divya has been a journalism fellow for several programs including the Asia Journalism Fellowship at Singapore and the KAS Media Asia- The Caravan for narrative journalism. Divya has a master's in politics and international studies from the University of Warwick, UK. As an independent journalist Divya has written for Indian and foreign publications on domestic and international affairs.

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