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A new political map

This election, each urban vote will finally be worth as much as a rural one, thanks to a delimitation exercise that has changed the contours of 499 of the 543 constituencies across the country. A primer on delimitation and what it means. Elections in India: A snapshot
Hindustan Times | By Debashish Mukerji
UPDATED ON MAR 19, 2009 02:17 AM IST

Delimitation literally means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries to political constituencies in a country.

In India, it is done by a Delimitation Commission to ensure a uniform population spread across constituencies.

For many years, Delhi was home to mainland India’s largest as well as smallest parliamentary constituency – Outer Delhi that had 33.7 lakh voters in 2004 and Chandni Chowk with 3.4 lakh voters. That will no longer be the case in this election.

The fourth Delimitation Comm-ission, appointed in 2002 under retired Supreme Court Judge Kuldeep Singh, has redrawn Delhi constituencies so each of them now houses 15 lakh voters and consist of 10 Assembly segments.

The same has been done across the country. As a result, the contours of 499 constituencies have changed. Some have been renamed and a few have vanished.

For example, in 2004 there were two constituencies — ‘Bhiwani’ and ‘Mahendragarh’ in Haryana.

Parts of Mahendragarh have now become a separate constituency called Gurgaon. The rest has been merged with adjoining Bhiwani and is renamed ‘Bhiwani-Mahendragarh’.

Reserved seats for scheduled castes and tribes have increased in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Punjab. In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, seats for reserved for SC candidates have gone down by one each.

More importantly, the urban hubs bursting at the seams now have equal representation — after a reorganisation that has been overdue for about two decades.

Many political leaders have lost their carefully nurtured constituencies either because they have been now reserved or have been merged with others or split.

Prominent among them are outgoing Speaker Somnath Chatterjee’s Bolpur seat in West Bengal, former Home Minister Shivraj Patil’s Latur seat in Maharashtra and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh’s Bulandshahr seat.

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