Jammu, Srinagar districts compared

By Sant Kumar Sharma
The Legislative Assembly elections were last held in J&K towards the end of 2014. Official figures for these elections are in public domain.
These can be cross-checked and collated from official website of the Election Commission of India (ECI). Presently, Jammu is the winter capital and Srinagar summer capital of the Union Territory (earlier state) of J&K. They can be said to be alike in that sense and are undoubtedly the most developed districts of the UT.
Total area
Jammu= 2,336 sq km
Srinagar= 249 sq km
Legislative Assembly segments
Jammu= 11
Srinagar= 8
Area per Legislative Assembly segment
Jammu= 2,336/11= 212.36
Srinagar= 249/8= 31.12
So, the average area per constituency in Jammu district is over 212 sq km and in Srinagar, the average size of an assembly segment is 31 sq km.
This is 212/31= 6.8 (appropriately 7 times). That means an assembly segment in Jammu district (of 212 sq km) is approximately seven times larger as compared to that in Srinagar (of 31 sq km).
Please find out if any single constituency of Jammu district is larger than all the eight constituencies of Srinagar district! Is there only one or more than that?

Total no of voters
Jammu= 10,10,959
Srinagar= 6,25,801
Average voter per constituency
Jammu = 10,10,959/11= 91,905
Srinagar= 6,25,801/8= 78,225
So, on an average, the number of voters per constituency in Jammu district is 91,905 voters. In Srinagar, the average number per constituency is 78,225 voters.

In Jammu district
1. Gandhinagar= 1,68,643 voters
2. Jammu West= 1,53,530 voters
3. Raipur Domana= 96,694 voters
4. Akhnoor= 94,419 voters
5. Bishnah= 89,189 voters
6. R S Pura= 77,134 voters
7. Chhamb= 72,413 voters
8. Nagrota= 72,156 voters
9. Marh= 71,361 voters
10. Suchetgarh= 62,095 voters
11. Jammu East= 53,316 voters
Srinagar district
1. Batmaloo= 1,20,339 voters
2. Hazratbal= 99,850 voters
3. Amira Kadal= 86,514 voters
4. Sonawar= 77,505 voters
5. Zadibal= 76,909 voters
6. Eidgah= 58,822 voters
7. Habba Kadal= 54,852 voters
8. Khaniyar= 51,010 voters

By a cursory perusal of these figures, it becomes clear that the assembly constituencies in the Jammu district are LARGE, far larger, as compared to constituencies in Srinagar. Both in terms of area and number of voters.
The questions that need to be answered are:
1. Is it something that can be called a DISPARITY? Is it LEGITIMATE?
2. Is it something that has always existed? If so, why? If not, then when did it start?
3. These numbers are not equal. Are they equitable? What are the yardsticks which will help us understand?
4. Is it deliberate (political) gerrymandering? Deliberately carving out bigger constituencies, both voterwise and areawise, in Jammu, so that it is DISEMPOWERED vis a vis Kashmir?

Incidentally, gerrymandering is defined as a process of manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency so as to favour one party or class (in this case a region, Kashmir).
The word GERRYMANDERING is of American usage and origin.
It is said that such gerrymandering has been done through last several decades to overtly and covertly favour the Kashmir region, to the detriment of Jammu and Ladakh regions. This is not an issue for Ladakh any longer because it has become a separate entity due to actions of August 5, 2019.
The word gerrymandering has a similar word, pocket boroughs, in Britain. Pocket boroughswas a fairly commonly used word there and it referred to boroughs (akin to constituencies) in which the election of political representatives was controlled by one person or family, through UNFAIR and UNDERHAND MEANS.
These boroughs, created by deft manipulations, bribes, intimidation etc were called pejoratively as ROTTEN BOROUGHS. In Kashmir, the constituencies seem to be modern, updated versions of rotten boroughs of yore.

A fresh delimitation of legislative assembly constituencies in the Union Territory (UT) of JK is likely to change the political “balance of power” significantly. Earlier, Kashir region had 46 assembly segments and Jammu 37.
In the new delimitation, how many new segments will be created? How many old segment will vanish?
(A new Delimitation Commission has been set up to carry out delimitation de novo in the UT of J&K. It will have to take into account the historical distortions in the delimitation and correct these.)