Union Minister Rajkumar Ranjan Singh has urged Home Minister Amit Shah to consider the creation of a new unreserved Lok Sabha seat in Manipur following the anticipated delimitation exercise scheduled for 2026. Singh, who represents the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha constituency, emphasized the need for fair distribution and the establishment of reserved (SC/ST) and unreserved seats.
The proposal suggests combining the eight unreserved assembly seats currently under the Outer Manipur Lok Sabha constituency, which is presently a Scheduled Tribes (ST) reserved area. Delimitation, aimed at adjusting constituency boundaries based on population changes, is crucial in addressing demographic shifts.
Anticipating a potential rise in assembly seats from 60 to 70, Singh’s letter highlights the importance of unbiased efforts to ensure equitable political representation. The move comes amid ethnic tensions in Manipur, particularly between the hill-majority Kuki tribes and the valley-majority Meiteis.
Singh’s residence in Imphal was vandalized and set ablaze by a mob in June, underscoring the heightened sensitivity of the situation. With only two Lok Sabha seats from Manipur, any increase in assembly seats could lead to controversy, as conflicting claims regarding population changes persist between the Kuki and Meitei communities.
The Minister of State for External Affairs and Education emphasized the use of the latest census data, biometrics, and Aadhaar linkage for accuracy and authenticity in the delimitation process. Singh stressed the need for a transparent and unbiased approach, free from favoritism towards any community or ethnic group.
In the face of the ongoing crisis in Manipur, including violence and internal displacement, Singh’s proposed recommendations aim to contribute to more equitable political representation, aligning with democratic principles. The Centre’s decision to suspend the Free Movement Regime near the India-Myanmar border adds complexity to the situation, linked to allegations of illegal immigration and a network of drug traffickers.
As Manipur grapples with these challenges, Singh’s letter underscores the importance of a fair and comprehensive delimitation process to ensure the democratic values of Bharat are upheld.
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