Next elections on new Delimitation Commission guidelines: Govt

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New Delhi, Mar 18 (UNI) The government today announced that the next elections would be held ''within a year'' as per the guidelines of the new Delimitation Commission.

Announcing this in the Rajya Sabha, Law Minister H R Bhardwaj said the Election Commission had also informed that they needed six to eight months for revision of electoral rolls.

''We are preparing for revision of electoral rolls. The next elections will be held on the basis of the present delimitation. We have to complete the exercise so that political parties and leaders can get enough time to work in their constituencies because in one year, election are going to be held. We can't delay it...We had to complete the exercise because we are committed to democracy,'' the Law Minister said while replying to the discussion on the 'Delimitation (Amendment) Bill, 2008, and 'The Representation of People (Amendment) Bill, 2008.' The House later passed the Bills, paving the way for the next elections based on the new delimitation exercise.

Dismissing the accusations by some members that the government had political motives behind the amendment, the Law Minister said he had kept the opposition leaders informed and even invited their suggestions several times.

It was the opposition leaders who said that the government should speed up the process.

''They told me that they want immediate implementation.

Otherwise I would have taken two weeks more. But I decided to bring the amendment earlier on their persistence. Attaching motives to the government move is not proper...All major political leaders have supported what we have done,'' he added.

He also dismissed the charges against the Delimitation Commission, saying the members of the Commission were ''honest people''.

''We can't attribute motives to the Delimitation Commission.

They are honest people doing their exercise extremely well. It is a huge task,'' he said.

Earlier, many members, while welcoming the decision, pointed out certain anomalies in the delimitation exercise as a result of which the population had been unevenly divided.

The Law Minister said the Commission had followed simple arithmetic, ''applied a straitjacket principle and given it to the MPs.'' Mr Lalit Kishore Chaturvedi (BJP) highlighted the increasing infiltration by Bangladeshi nationals into many states and expressed fears that they might sometime have a say in Lok Sabha or assembly constituencies. He called for rectification of the anomalies.

Mr Shantaram Naik (Congress) demanded that political parties also have repesentation in the Commission while Mr Tarlochan Singh (Ind.) said the delimitation exercise should be conducted every ten years and immediately after elections. Mr Gopal Vyas (BJP), Mr Gandhi Azad (BSP) and Mr Rashid Alvi (Cong) also spoke.


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