EC team in Assam to discuss delimitation

GUWAHATI, 26 Mar: Ahead of the delimitation of constituencies in Assam, the full team of the Election Commission of India arrived here on Sunday on a three-day visit to the state for holding consultations with various stakeholders, including political parties and civil societies.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel will hold discussions with the stakeholders on Monday, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nitin Khade said.

 The EC has been entrusted with the delimitation exercise for redrawing the territorial boundaries of the assembly and parliamentary constituencies of the northeastern state.

In a statement on Saturday, Khade said that the EC team usually visits the states concerned after draft publication of the proposal.

“The commission will again come after the publication of the draft proposal in newspapers. Thus stakeholders will be getting two opportunities to interact with the commission to make the delimitation process more inclusive, participatory and transparent,” he added.

The CEO said that stakeholders/public will be able to send their suggestions/inputs by 5 April to and, for those who could not come to meet the commission.

An official said that the EC team will meet the CEO and other officials on Sunday evening.

They are scheduled to address a press conference on Tuesday, the official said.

The process for delimitation started on 1 January, 2023, using the 2001 census figures, according to a notification issued by the EC on 27 December last year.

The preliminary work to start the exercise has begun and the final job will commence after the CEC’s visit, a senior official at the office of the CEO had told PTI earlier.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said in the state assembly earlier this month that re-drawing of the constituencies was stalled as the then-Congress government had written to the delimitation commission that law and order situation was “not conducive” for the exercise.

“When we were asked if it can be done now, we said the situation has improved now,” he added.

On 31 December, 2022, the Assam cabinet decided to merge four districts with the ones from which they were carved out and made separate districts. Biswanath was merged with Sonitpur, Hojai with Nagaon, Tamulpur with Baksa, and Bajali with Barpeta.

The decisions to merge the districts were taken just a day before the EC’s ban on creating new administrative units in Assam from 1 January, 2023, as the poll panel would undertake the delimitation exercise in the state, came into force.

The administrative jurisdiction of some villages and a few towns were also changed at the state cabinet meeting held in New Delhi.

In March this year, the Gauhati High Court issued two notices to the Assam government, asking it to explain within four weeks why it had dissolved Hojai and Biswanath districts. (PTI)