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Election Commission Begins 3-Day Public Hearing On Draft Delimitation In Assam

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GUWAHATI, July 19 (PTI): The full bench of the Election Commission of India (ECI) reached here on Wednesday to hold a series of public hearings on draft delimitation proposals for the Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies of Assam.

Chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar and election commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel, along with senior officials of the ECI, reached Guwahati on Wednesday morning and started the three-day hearing at Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra complex here.

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An official of the poll panel told PTI that simultaneous hearings are taking place in three different halls with Kumar, Pandey and Goel hearing people’s suggestions.

During this public hearing, the ECI will hold discussions with various stakeholders, including political parties and civil society organisations, over the draft proposals on the delimitation exercise, which is being carried out on the basis of the 2001 Census.

“After the proposal was published in June 2023, suggestions and objections were invited till July 11. Over 780 representations have been received during this period. The public hearings are part of the consultative exercise by the Commission during the process of delimitation,” ECI said in a statement.

On the first day, suggestions for Kamrup Metropolitan, West Karbi Anglong, Chirang, Baksa, Dima Hasao, Kamrup, Udalguri, Karbi Anglong and Kokrajhar districts were heard. Over 270 representations have been received by the ECI from these areas.

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Feedback on the draft for Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Sonitpur, Karimganj, Darrang, Hailakandi, Cachar, South Salmara, Nagaon, Morigaon and Dhubri districts will be heard on Thursday. More than 400 suggestions have been received from these districts.

On the last day, the ECI will listen to prayers from Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Golaghat and Majuli districts. Over 95 proposals have been submitted from these areas.

Besides, six suggestions have been received from various national and state political parties.

The chief electoral officer of Assam had on Tuesday requested all public organisations to limit the number of representatives for each group to a maximum of five people.

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The last delimitation exercise in Assam took place in 1976 on the basis of the 1971 Census.

Following the publication of the draft proposals last month, opposition parties and several social organisations slammed the ECI and alleged that the central poll body acted as a “puppet” of the ruling BJP.

However, the ECI has not reacted to the allegations yet.

Many political parties have also knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court against the entire delimitation exercise.

The ECI had on June 20 notified the draft delimitation document by retaining the number of Assembly seats in Assam at 126 and the Lok Sabha constituencies at 14. The state has seven Rajya Sabha seats.

As per the draft, the Assembly seats reserved for Scheduled Castes have been increased to nine from eight and for Scheduled Tribes to 19 from 16. For the Parliamentary constituencies, two have been proposed under the ST category and one for the SC community.

The poll panel has also planned to alter the geographical boundaries of most of the constituencies, both Assembly and Lok Sabha, while eliminating some seats and creating a few new ones.

An ECI team had earlier visited Assam on March 26-28 and held interactions with political parties, public representatives, civil society members, social organisations, members of the public and officers regarding the delimitation exercise.

Representations from 11 political parties and 71 other organisations were received and considered during that visit of the ECI team.

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The Hills Times
The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
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