EC to propose raising number of JS seats

The Election Commission (EC) will send proposal to the government, after holding talks with political parties, to raise the number of parliamentary seats by amending the constitution.

This initiative is being taken to bring balance between the rural and urban constituencies, Election Commissioner Muhammad Sohul Hossain told BSS.

Some political parties, including Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD), during talks with the EC in 2007 and 2008, suggested raising the number of parliamentary seats to 500 from 300. In reply, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr ATM Shamsul Huda had said that the issue would be considered in future.

The EC will hold dialogues with political parties, civil society, legal experts and media representatives at the end of the

current month or at the beginning of November on amendment to the election laws.

Problems over delimitation of constituencies and raising the number of seats would be discussed during the dialogues.

The government has already announced to raise the number of reserved seats for women to 100 and hold direct voting for those.

Sohul Hossain said the number of parliamentary seats declined in rural areas during the last delimitation, but the rural areas need more seats for development.

As the present law gives emphasis on population, the number of seats in rural areas will be reducing gradually for migration of the people to cities and disproportionate censuses, he said and stressed the need for amending the delimitation laws giving importance to geographical and administrative issues along with population.

The EC published the draft of 300 constituencies with 4.5 lakh population each in July last year as per the Delimitation Ordinance – 1976.

Following this, the number of seats in Dhaka city has increased to 15 from eight. Migration of rural people to the capital is the reason for this.

On the other hand Sirajganj-7, Chandpur-6, Comilla-6, Borguna-3, Satkhira-5, Barisal with Pirojpur, Mymensing with Netrokona, Faridpur- 5, Kishorganj -7, Manikganj-4 and Munshiganj-4 constituencies dissolved completely.

Last year’s delimitation was done on the basis of 2001 census that shows the total population as 12,43,55,263. But the country’s total population is at least 15 to 16 crore. Therefore, the number of parliamentary seats would be increased during the next delimitation.

The New Nation