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KHADC delimitation exercise may affect Mawlai, Laban most

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Council harps on ‘electorate parity’

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, Jan 10: The delimitation exercise of the KHADC, which has come as a thorn in the flesh of late, is likely to affect two constituencies the most — Mawlai and Laban-Mawprem, which are the largest and the smallest, respectively, in terms of voters.
However, the Council says that the exercise is necessary as it will ensure electorate parity.
KHADC Deputy Chief Executive Member, Pynshngain N Syiem on Wednesday said the Executive Committee (EC) followed all necessary procedures before constituting the Delimitation Committee (DC).
He told a group of reporters that the Council carried out a similar exercise in 2013.
“As in 2013, we constituted the DC this time after getting the approval from the Governor,” he said.
Syiem said the EC decided to carry out the delimitation exercise following several petitions from various individuals, localities, and villages.
He said the exercise was needed since questions were being raised on the huge differences in the numbers of electors among the constituencies.
He cited the examples of Mawlai, the largest constituency with an electorate of more than 50,000, the Mawkhar-Pynthorumkhrah constituency with about 18,000 voters, and Laban-Mawprem, the smallest of the 29 constituencies with about 13,000 voters.
“We have decided to carry out the delimitation exercise to reorganize the villages and localities of the different constituencies,” Syiem said.
Replying to a query, he admitted that the rules of the DC have not been framed but the council is planning to do so by amending the Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous Districts (Constitution of District Councils) Rules of 1951.
He said the decision on the delimitation of the constituencies in the past was taken by the EC.
“It was only in 2013 when I was the CEM that the Governor insisted on a DC to carry out the exercise in a detailed manner and to avoid any kind of lapses,” he said.
When asked if the council would be able to justify its decision to constitute the DC since there is a writ petition on this matter in the high court, Syiem refrained from commenting.  He, however, said the petition in the court is restricted to the constitution of the DC.
He also said some people have been talking about the possible extension of the House.
“But the extension does not arise as the DC is on its job. The plan at the moment is to hold the election before the end of the term of the present House,” he said.
Asked what would happen if the DC cannot complete the exercise and submit the report on time, he said they will need to put their heads together for a way out.
“But we are trying to hold the election on time,” he added.
One Dominic Warjri had filed a petition questioning the “illegal action” of the EC in constituting the DC to determine the boundaries of the 29 constituencies within its jurisdiction.
The High Court of Meghalaya on December 28 last year allowed the petitioner to serve a notice to the KHADC and the state government to list the case within four weeks.
ELECTORAL ROLLS
The Council’s delimitation committee is yet to receive the latest electoral rolls from majority of the districts to initiate the process of verification of various villages and localities who wish to re-align with another constituency.
Delimitation committee chairman, Stralwell Kharsyiemlieh, on Wednesday, said that they have received the latest electoral rolls of 15 constituencies in East Khasi Hills except Sohra and Shella which fall under Sohra Civil Sub Division.
He said that they will request the Executive Committee (EC) if the latest electoral rolls of the constituencies under Ri-Bhoi, West Khasi Hills, South West Khasi Hill and Eastern West Khasi Hills can be made available to the committee.
Without the verification, they will not be able to go ahead with the process, he said.
“We will try our best to complete the exercise at the earliest,” he assured.
It may be recalled that the KHADC had submitted before the District Council Affairs department a proposal for the delimitation of the Council constituencies.
The tenure of the current House will end on March 5.

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