Azad expresses helplessness in bringing Delimitation Bill in LA

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Jammu, Jan 15 (UNI) Expressing his helplessness in bringing the Delimitation Commission Bill in the Legislative Assembly, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said the political parties had not arrived at consensus on the subject despite it being one of the agreed points in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of the government.

Replying in the House on Governor's address, Mr Azad admitted that the constitution of Delimitation Commission for reviewing the number of assembly constituencies in the state was one of the agreed points in the CMP of the coalition government, besides Financial Commission and Wazir Commission.

''Both the Finance Commission and Wazir Commission Bills were passed by the Cabinet but the Delimitation Commission was not passed,'' the Chief Minister said, asserting that despite his best efforts the political parties could not arrive at consensus on the delimitation of assembly constituencies in the state.

Mr Azad emphasised that the political parties should have arrived on a consensus before bringing any such constitutional amendment Bill in House. ''We will look stupid if we bring the Bill without consensus,'' he said.

He, however, reiterated his commitment to the CMP and said he would bring Delimitation Commission Bill in the House ''once the consensus is achieved.'' ''If the legislators arrive at consensus today and get majority votes for amendment, I will introduce the (Delimitation Commission) Bill tomorrow,'' Mr Azad said.

With an amendment in Section 47 of the J&K Constitution in 2002 (during NC rule), it has been laid down that ''until the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2026 have been published, it shall not be necessary to readjust the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly.'' The state Cabinet at its meeting on July 6, 2006, had decided in principle to increase the strength of elected members of the state Assembly by 25 per cent to be proportionally distributed among Jammu, Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

UNI VBH DS BST1752

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