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Parties favour delay

GO SLOW with the delimitation of constituencies appears to be the buzzword doing rounds in the corridors of power with leaders of major political parties out to ensure that the prevailing geographical areas and the caste combinations are not disturbed till the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. This became evident at the Delimitation Commission?s meeting held on January 24 in New Delhi, where cutting across political spectrum, the representatives of nearly all political parties favoured the delay.
By Umesh Raghuvanshi | None, Lucknow
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2006 01:09 AM IST

GO SLOW with the delimitation of constituencies appears to be the buzzword doing rounds in the corridors of power with leaders of major political parties out to ensure that the prevailing geographical areas and the caste combinations are not disturbed till the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh.

This became evident at the Delimitation Commission’s meeting held on January 24 in New Delhi, where cutting across political spectrum, the representatives of nearly all political parties favoured the delay. After hearing their point of view, the commission readily agreed to oblige them asking the representatives of political parties to submit their objections in a format in writing latest by March 15, 2006.

According to sources, the commission would consider all the objections and hold another meeting to dispose them of on April 3, 4 and 5. As unfolding developments on this front may upset the applecart of most of political bigwigs, the leaders obviously want to defer if they fail to avoid the ‘political misfortune’ that awaits many of them in the form of changed geographical areas, caste combinations and even names of the constituencies following implementation of proposed draft report of the Delimitation Commission.

Most of leaders though urged the commission to allow more time to file objections they were informed that delimitation panel proposed to complete the exercise at the earliest. Leaders obviously were not in favour of implementation of the Delimitation Commission report before the coming Vidhan Sabha elections, said a senior officer adding that the commission, however, had indicated that it had been left with hardly any time to complete the exercise. “The Commission’s term expires on July 31, 2006,” he said adding that the commission would obviously like to complete its job in time. On the other hand, the politicians feel that implementing the commission’s report in its present form could upset the prevailing political scenario in many areas.

Barring the Union Minister of State for Home Sri Prakash Jaiswal, most of other associate members of the commission attended the meeting. Sources said members raised the issue of proposed changes in the names of many constituencies. The commission has asked members to file objections on the issue, said a member asserting that the commission has agreed to retain existing names. Ayodhya and Hastinapur are among Vidhan Sabha constituencies that would not figure on state’s electoral map if the draft report of the delimitation commission were implemented without any amendment.

As members pointed out that more than 10 percent population would be affected in a number of constituencies the commission has agreed to minimise the impact, said a member. Much would however depend on how objections filed by members were dealt by the representatives of other political parties, he said adding the commission may agree to amend the report if no objections were filed from other sides.

Yet the commission may have no option but to go by its own report if objections were filed against any amendment, said another officer adding the commission however has agreed to respect natural boundaries. Such boundaries would include the demarcation line created by any river or mountain etc.

Another officer, however, pointed out that commission may not be able to implement its report before the coming Vidhan Sabha polls. The Election Commission may need nearly four to five months to revise electoral rolls, he said adding the politicians would also need some time to understand new constituencies. Yet nothing could be said with certainty about possible dates of implementation of Delimitation Commission’s report, he said.

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