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The government can use the delimitation of Assam to counteract CAA agitation | India News


GUWAHATI: Assam’s finance minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, said Saturday that the only purpose of redrawing the boundaries of the assembly and constituencies of Lok Sabha in the state should be to protect the political rights of the Assamese natives through the creation of more seats in which the majority of voters would be indigenous groups.

The position of the state government on the nature of the delimitation is likely to play an important role in allaying the fears of the indigenous Assames that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act makes them a minority in their own homeland. The CAA offers citizenship to non-Muslims in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan for reasons of religious persecution.

“Of the 126 electoral districts of the assembly, at least 110 should be maintained for indigenous peoples. We don’t want any increase in the number of constituencies … that won’t help us, “said Sarma.

Muslim voters in Assam represent approximately 37% of the state electorate. In the 2016 elections, 28 Muslim candidates had won. Of these, 14 are from Congress, 13 from AIUDF and one from BJP. Muslim voters also influence election results in six of the 14 constituencies of Lok Sabha and BJP also wants a complete review of the demographics in these constituencies. These six constituencies are Barpeta, Dhubri, Nagaon, Kaliabor, Karimganj and Silchar.

“Many people think that if seats are reserved, then they would provide the desired guarantees to the natives. But if a seat is reserved without altering the limit, voter demographics will remain unchanged. If the voters in a reserved seat are supporters of Badruddin Ajmal (head of AIUDF), then the elected MLA will have to follow Ajmal’s orders and we will return to the starting point, ”the minister added.

In the past, Sarma and other BJP leaders often warned people that Ajmal would become “very soon” the Assam prime minister if the influx of Muslims from Bangladesh continued unabated.

Sarma also said: “If a constituency becomes an indigenous majority by redrawing the boundaries, then we will have indigenous voters, as well as an indigenous MLA. This is the only way to ensure the existence of the indigenous communities of Assam. ”

Sarma’s statement comes one day after President Ram Nath Kovind cleared the decks to resume the demarcation exercise in Assam. The exercise was suspended in 2008, as it was reported that the situation in the state was not adequate due to a threat to peace and public order.

Before suspending the exercise, the delimitation commission had already prepared the draft of the proposal of the new limits for the assembly and the constituencies of Lok Sabha on the basis of the 2001 census. The current delimitation will be carried out in accordance with the Census of 2011

According to the previous draft, the number of assembly seats reserved for the ST has increased from 16 to 19 and those of the SC from eight to nine. Several Muslim-majority constituencies have ceased to exist with redesigned boundaries and new seats obtaining new names.

Among the constituencies of Lok Sabha, Mangaldai was eliminated and a new constituency, Udalguri, with Bodo tribal majority voters was proposed instead.

The opposition leader, Debabrata Saikia, said: “The resumption of the delimitation exercise is a wrong decision taken by the BJP government. The process cannot be started without first deciding the fate of 19 lakh people excluded from NRC. ”

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