The Opposition Congress skipped the Election Commission-convened consultation in connection with the ongoing delimitation of parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in Assam for the second time in two days as the state party unit had conveyed its mind to the poll panel through its January 4 memorandum and there was “nothing new” to discuss.
“We stayed away from the consultation yesterday and today despite receiving the invitation because we have already expressed our views and concerns in our memorandum to the CEC in January before other parties did. We were waiting for a response which the CEC had assured. There is nothing new to add or discuss or share or reconsider since we are yet to get a response even after over two months and three reminders. Hence, the decision to stay away,” Assam PCC president Bhupen Kumar Borah told The Telegraph here on Tuesday.
Borah also said the entire delimitation exercise appeared to be pre-determined, politically motivated and a match fixed. “We will soon decide with ten other Opposition parties, who are on the same page as us, on our next step. If we get a formal response, we will meet the CEC even now,” Borah said.
CEC Rajiv Kumar during a media interaction here on Tuesday assured views/suggestions of every section in the state will be “considered fairly, within the legal framework and adhering to principles of equity” during the exercise.
Kumar also repeatedly stressed the delimitation exercise is being carried out under the existing legal framework, all suggestions have been noted, nobody can dictate any term to the poll panel and the NRC and delimitation are two legally distinct activities and there is no bar on carrying out either or simultaneously. On why it was the 2001 census, he said it was as per the legal framework.
When asked to elaborate on his allegations, Borah said: “We feel it is match-fixing because the EC had on January 27 announced carrying out delimitation and even called for a complete ban on the creation of new administrative units from January 1, 2023, till the completion of the exercise. But on December 31, four new districts were merged with their old districts. We want to ask why the ban was not enforced on January 27 itself? Why the code of conduct was not enforced then as is done when it announces thepolls schedule? Why time was given to redraw the district boundary?”
Borah added: “We also feel it is pre-determined. We know the Election Commission can carry out the exercise but why not the delimitation commission? Opposition MPs and MLAs can be part of the delimitation panel commission which is not the case under the EC. The ruling BJP will be dictating now. The CEC had assured to respond formally to our memorandum but he did not do so. He changed his mind, for which we feel the exercise is politically motivated.”