Population should not be the only basis of the delimitation of a constituency, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said today, a day after the state cabinet approved the merger of four newly created districts with existing ones in the state. He also said that the cabinet didn’t approve the district merger for delimitation, but did it for administrative measures. It will, however, impact delimitation a little but only to the benefit of the people, Mr Sarma added.
“There should also be other criteria. But in this exercise, we have to go by the law made by the Parliament,” he said in Guwahati today.
The state government has asked districts to control population, the Chief Minister said, adding that it has not been followed in some areas.
“It should be debated in parliament as the existing law gives a premium to area where there is more population as compared to areas with lesser population,” Mr Sarma said about population being the only criteria for the delimitation exercise.
Delimitation is the process of fixing limits or boundaries of the territorial constituencies in a country or a state with a legislative body.
The Chief Minister said the popular Assam agitation, which demanded that the Centre detect, disenfranchise, and deport “illegal aliens”, and the controversial National Register of Citizen, which had a similar goal, “could not protect the rights and future of the indigenous people”.
“The delimitation exercise might save our society and protect demographic change inside the assembly,” he said, adding that it’s a non-political constitutional exercise, which will be based on data, and will be fair.
“District boundary plays a key role, so we have to take a harsh decision,” Mr Sarma said, stressing that delimitation should be done on 2001 census.
According to the merger plan, Biswanath district will be merged with Sonitpur, Hojai will be merged with Nagaon, Tamulpur district will be merged with Baksa, and Bajali district is being merged with Barpeta district.
This has been done in accordance with the Election Commission’s order on delimitation, mandating that Assam government makes no changes in any districts or administrative units from January 1, 2023, as the state will begin its delimitation process.
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