New Delhi, Oct 8 (IANS) In what could turn out to be another North vs South issue after the recent row over Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remark on Hindi being made the national language, Congress Working Committee Member Jitin Prasada has demanded lifting of freeze on the number of seats in the Lok Sabha.
Talking to IANS, Prasada said he had written a letter in this regard to the government.
Pointing to disparity, he said a member of Lok Sabha from the North often represented more than 25 lakh people, whereas it could be only 10 lakh in many other cases. Also, the amount for the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) was the same Rs 5 crore despite difference in the size of population they represented, he added.
In the present 545-member Lok Sabha (with two nominated members of the Anglo-Indian community), UP and Bihar together account for 120 seats, which is more than 20 per cent.
By the 84th amendment to Constitution in 2002, the number of Lok Sabha seats was frozen at 545 till 2026. Earlier in 1951, 1961 and 1971, the number of seats was changed on the basis of census.
Had the the number of Lok Sabha seats been revised as per the 2001 census, the total number of seats in the Hindi belt, which includes Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP, Uttaranchal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Delhi, would have gone up to 270 from 239 by 2016, Prasada said quoting a study.
At the same time, the total number of seats for the southern states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh would have come down from 129 to 108.
Stating that the next census was due in 2021 and the Lok Sabha elections in 2024, the Congress leader said, it was the time to consider the issue.
However, any change may create a regional imbalance in terms of representation in the Lower House of Parliament.
After being wiped out in the 2019 Narendra Modi wave, the Congress was trying to reclaim the lost ground and gain attention by raking of issues like this, said a leader from South.
Parliament was already dominated with North Indians and any change would trigger an unnecessary controversy, the leader added.