People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 39

September 26, 2004


 CPI(M) Demands More Seats In Assembly


THE 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.


In 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.


The 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.


The 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.


Among 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.


Moreover, 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.


It 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)