Guwahati: Several political parties in Asaam, including the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC), CPI-M, TMC, and AIUDF have rejected the draft proposal on the delimitation of assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies after the Election Commission of India (ECI) published the draft on Tuesday.
In the draft, the ECI retained the Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies at 14 and 126 respectively and raised the number of assembly seats reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribes (ST), made changes to the boundaries or nomenclature of some Lok Sabha and assembly seats.
According to Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma the delimitation exercise, which was carried out based on the 2001 Census report, will safeguard the indigenous communities.
APCC president Bhupen Kumar Bora, however, rejected the claim of the chief minister and said, “Himanta Biswa Sarma talks of safeguarding the indigenous people. But the draft proposal prepared by his ardent followers and subsequently approved by the ECI, will not protect the indigenous communities”.
Bora said that the proposal made for the delimitation “will give a walkover to Congress in five seats”. In this regard, he said that the party will give more details after its meeting on June 27.
“If this proposal is finalized, minorities will be the determining factors in three Lok Sabha seats. They will be determining factor indirectly in two other Lok Sabha seats,” Bora said.
Likewise, he claimed that minorities will be determining factor in 30 assembly seats directly and 15 other seats indirectly.
“When late Tarun Gogoi was the chief minister, delimitation draft was prepared in a way so that minorities would be determining factor in two Lok Sabha seats. Now Himanta Biswa Sarma government has raised it to five,” the Congress leader claimed.
He said that the delimitation proposal has no answer to 19 lakh people who have been delisted from the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
“If the chief minister really wants to safeguard the indigenous people, he has to implement Clause 5 and 6 of the Assam Accord, grant ST status to six communities and amend the Land Protection,” he said.
“Sarma has done it to protect the MLAs who are his ardent followers. It is his political shrewdness. BJP-RSS will not be safe from this proposal, they will have to cry one day for this proposal,” Bora added.
Draft paper exposes BJP’s communal agenda: CPI-M
Reacting to the draft proposal, CPI-M Assam state secretary Suprakash Talukdar said the ECI has published the draft proposal setting aside the appeals and petition of the representatives of the people, and under the influence of the BJP at the Centre and the state.
“The draft proposal has revealed the communal agenda of BJP-RSS. The draft paper has sidestepped all the public related issues like the increase of population in the last 22 years, communication, geographical alignment of villages,” Talukdar said.
“Earlier delimitation exercise was halted as the NRC list was not finalized. But the demand was also sidestepped by the EC under the pressure of BJP-RSS. The Delimitation Commission was also not constituted to delimit the Lok Sabha and assembly seats. We will study all the aspects of the draft paper shortly,” Talukdar added.
TMC rejects draft proposal
The draft proposal was also rejected by Assam TMC saying that the working style of the poll panel is heavily influenced by BJP.
Assam TMC president and former MP Ripun Bora said that his party opposed this proposal as the delimitation proposal is prepared based on the 2001 census.
“The ECI is following the dictates of the BJP party. The draft delimitation proposal published by the EC is prepared on based the 2001 census, which is not correct. There is a change of population pattern in the state. The delimitation if happens based on the latest census data, there could have been different delimitation altogether,” Bora said.
Without completion of proper NRC, he said that making of the proposal for delimitation in Assam based on the 2001 census cannot be accepted. “We have been demanding delimitation on the latest census, we have been asking as the delimitation process is due in 2026 across the country, what was the necessity for preparation of draft delimitation for Assam in haste,” he questioned.
The former MP further questioned if there is any vicious motive behind the move. “The motive of the BJP behind this delimitation on short notice reflects the assurance of electoral gains through voter division,” he added.
BJP MLAs Sidhartha Bhattacharyya (East Guwahati), Sushanta Borgohain (Thowra), Pradip Hazarika (Amguri), Ramendra Narayan Kalita (West Guwahati) will have to lose their seats in the upcoming elections if the draft is finalized, the leader observed.
In Guwahati, new constituencies – Demoria, New Guwahati, and Guwahati Central were created, in the draft.
Proposal will help both Congress, BJP
Rejecting the draft proposal, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) supremo and Lok Sabha MP Maulana Vadaruddin Ajmal said that the proposed delimitation will only both BJP and Congress.
“Earlier Congress claimed that AIUDF is BJP’s B team. But now I say Congress is A-plus team of the BJP,” Ajmal said.
“The number of Muslim voters reduced in each Lok Sabha and assembly constituency. We will hold a meeting on it tonight. We will meet EC soon to raise our voice against it,” Ajmal also said.
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“This draft proposal was prepared by EC under the influence of Union home minister Amit Shah and chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. A few days ago we saw that the chief minister and Union home minister had a meeting that was going on for long hours. We suspect that the ECI has released the draft proposal under the influence of the BJP party,” he said.
“Some of our MLAs will lose their seats while the seats of Congress will increase by 10 to 12. Congress-BJP has unitedly prepared the draft in their favour,” he added.
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