Will consider all suggestions for delimitation process in Assam: EC
The Election Commission will take into account suggestions of all stakeholders during the ongoing delimitation exercise of Parliamentary and assembly seats and integrate them as far as possible, chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Tuesday
The Election Commission will take into account suggestions of all stakeholders during the ongoing delimitation exercise of Parliamentary and assembly seats and integrate them as far as possible, chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Tuesday.
Addressing reporters after holding talks with various political parties and organisations over the past two days, Kumar said the poll body would accept suggestions till April 15 before chalking out a draft proposal, which will be further discussed to make the process transparent.
“The Election Commission would take into account cultural, social, historical, geographical concerns of all stakeholders and integrate them as far as possible to go ahead with a critical process like delimitation,” Kumar said.
“We have listened to all carefully and noted down their suggestions and concerns that reflected the aspirations of the people of Assam. The suggestions have greatly helped us to improve our understanding of the issues involved in this critical and complex exercise,” he added.
On December 27, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced it has initiated the delimitation of 126 assembly and 14 Parliamentary constituencies in Assam using the 2001 census figures for the readjustment of seats. It, however, said there would be no increase in the number of seats with effect from January 1, 2023 due to delimitation.
In the past two days, a team of EC officials met representatives of nine recognised political parties, three registered parties and over 60 civil society organisations over the matter. The Congress, however, boycotted the consultations, alleging that the exercise was “pre-determined” and “fixed”.
“Despite submitting memorandums to EC on our concerns about the process, we didn’t get any reply till date. We are not opposed to the process, but won’t take part till we get a reply from EC. It’s a pre-determined and politically motivated process and there’s match fixing,” said Congress state president Bhupen Kumar Borah.
Kumar said concerns like why the 2001 census, and not the 2011 census, was taken as a base year for the exercise were raised by the stakeholders. Some wanted an increase in the number of assembly and Parliamentary seats, he said.
He said that as per existing legal and constitutional provisions, the number of seats in states can be readjusted only after details of the “first census conducted after 2026” are available. Till that happens, delimitation exercises will be conducted across the country on the basis of the 2001 census, he added.
On Congress’s allegation, Kumar said: “The accusation that the process itself has been fixed isn’t correct as we will prepare a draft proposal after which we will explain how and why the exercise was conducted so that there is transparency.”
The last delimitation exercise in Assam was undertaken in 1976 based on figures of the 1971 census.
“Is this a cricket match that can be fixed? It is unfortunate that Congress has raised doubts on the functioning of the EC,” said BJP MLA Diganta Saikia.