People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
September 26, 2004
Demands More Seats In Assembly
Jharkhand state committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has voiced
its strong conviction that the total of 81 assembly seats in Jharkhand is too
little compared to the population and size of the state and for the legislative
and administrative work the population size entails. In addition, the 15 per
cent ceiling on the number of ministers means that there can be only 12
ministers in Jharkhand, which is equal to the minimum number of ministers even
for the smallest state. Therefore, the CPI(M) is of the view that number of
assembly seats in Jharkhand must be suitable increased. The exact number may be
decided by consensus among all political parties.
the opinion of the party state committee, the Delimitation Commission is already
continuing the work of delimitation of parliamentary and assembly constituencies
under the provisions of the constitution and the law. This delimitation of the
constituencies, as will be finally decided, will remain valid till after 2026.
But that means that, as per an amendment to section 82 of the constitution, the
present delimitation of Jharkhand assembly constituencies cannot be altered
before the year 2026.
CPI(M) is of the view that if the ongoing delimitation take places on the basis
of 81 seats without resolving the urgent need of increasing the number of
assembly seats, the problem will continue to remain till after 2026. Hence, the
CPI(M) has urged upon all political parties to come forward to make joint
representations to the governor, the prime minister and the president of India.
CPI(M) has also appealed to all political parties to make a joint representation
the Delimitation Commission to undertake the work of delimitation of assembly
constituencies in Jharkhand only after the parliament makes an increase in the
number of assembly seats through an amendment to the constitution.
the newly created three states, Uttaranchal (with 84 lakh population) is the
only state where the number of seats was increased at the time of reorganisation.
When Uttar Pradesh was bifurcated through a constitutional amendment, this
number was increased from 32 only to 70. Of the other states, Chhattisgarh, with
a population of 2.08 crore, has 90 assembly seats whereas Jharkhand having a
population of 2.69 crore has 81 seats.
the present Delimitation Commission was constituted as a constitutional
authority, as per Delimitation (Amendment) Act, 2003. It has former Supreme
Court justice Kuldip Singh as its chairman and Election Commissioner of India B
B Tandon as a member, while the state election commissioner of Jharkhand is also
an ex-officio member. However, the Delimitation Commission is incomplete in
respect of Jharkhand for the simple reason that the post of state election
commissioner is vacant. This has created a constitutional crisis for which Arjun
Munda government is fully and squarely responsible. The CPI(M) has decided to
take a delegation to the governor on this issue.
may be recalled that the first two working papers, prepared by the Delimitation
Commission and circulated amongst the associated members (5 MPs and 5 MLAs),
were published in the press and have created some confusion. The second round of
papers will be prepared and circulated amongst associate members for their
comments, after which the draft report will be prepared and published in the
gazette. Thereafter, the same will be available to the public for opinion. There
will be public hearings. Only after that will the orders for all parliamentary
and assembly seats be prepared for presidential assent, and these will be placed
before the parliament and legislative assemblies for implementation. The
procedure will obviously take time to get completed. Thus the upcoming assembly
elections in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Bihar and Haryana are expected to take
place only on the basis of the existing delimitation. (INN)