Days after Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union territories, the Election Commission is all geared up to execute the delimitation exercise. The initial internal report states that the entire plan would take nearly 14 months to be completed. Sources said that according to EC’s plan, the whole process will be completed in nine to 10 phases and the process would begin once the commission gets official notification from the home ministry. The EC is said to have prepared the report on the basis of its experience in Uttarakhand in year 2000-2001.
It had earlier asked its officers to study recent precedents of delimitation — such as one undertaken after Uttarakhand was carved out of Uttar Pradesh — carried out on account of bifurcation of a state. While carrying out the delimitation process, population is made the basis of redrawing boundaries and allocation of seats. This task is assigned to a four-member delimitation commission of which one of the members represents the EC.
The Parliament had last month given its nod to the legislation for bifurcating the state, a bold and far-reaching decision that seeks to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of a protracted militancy movement. President Ram Nath Kovind also gave assent to legislation for bifurcation of J&K, and two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — is said to come into existence on October 31 — the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
In both the Union Territories, key subjects such as law and order will be with the Centre. The UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have a Lieutenant Governor and the maximum strength of its assembly will be of 107 which will be enhanced to 114 after a delimitation exercise. Twenty-four seats of the Assembly will continue to remain vacant as they fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).