Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to be conducted only after the process of delimitation of Assembly seats gets over, which would take around 14 months. Therefore, the polls are likely to be deferred till 2021, sources in the Election Commission of India (ECI) said.
They said the process of delimitation is expected to begin by the end of November and the process would take over 1 year to complete.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is expected to write to the ECI after October 31, 2019 to start the process of delimitation for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir," sources were quoted as saying by IANS.
"The MHA communication can not be sent to the ECI for delimitation before October 31 because constitutionally, the bifurcation of J&K into the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir will come into effect that day. Once the ECI receives mandatory communication from the MHA, the process of delimitation will begin. It would take around a month to finalise the sub-committees and schedules for undertaking the process," they said.
"The EC will complete the delimitation process in 14 months in 9-10 phases as it is mandatory to complete all the required processes and procedures to hold the process," top sources in the ECI added.
After the Ladakh division separates from Jammu and Kashmir, the total number of Assembly seats will come down from 87 to 83 since the four seats of Leh, Kargil, Zanskar and Nubra would no longer be part of the J&K legislative assembly. At present, Kashmir has 46 assembly seats while the Jammu division has 37.
Home Minister Amit Shah has already been given a detailed presentation on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where the BJP has been pushing for carrying out a delimitation exercise for getting more seats for Jammu region in the state assembly.
The demand for delimitation of Jammu and Kashmir was raised by the BJP first in 2008 during the Amarnath land row.
Mentionably, the NDA government in 2002 had initiated a process of delimitation of assembly and parliamentary constituencies and set up Kuldip Singh Commission but had agreed to keep Jammu and Kashmir out of its purview.