Trinamool Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sushmita Dev staged a 10-hour hunger strike on July 10, protesting against the proposed delimitation draft by the Election Commission of India (ECI). Dev strongly criticized the reduction of assembly seats in Assam’s Barak Valley and the ECI’s delimitation plans for the state’s assembly and Lok Sabha seats.
Dev expressed discontent with the timing of the delimitation process, which commenced after a gap of 47 years since 1976 in Assam, and the utilization of the outdated 2001 census data instead of the more recent 2021 census. She referred to constitutional provisions, specifically Articles 80 and 170 of the Indian Constitution, which suggest that seat allocation adjustments are unnecessary until the first census after 2026 is published.
Questioning the rationale behind initiating delimitation in Assam prior to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, when seat numbers cannot be increased until after the 2026 census, Dev argued for using the more up-to-date 2011 census as the base year.
Dev criticized the Election Commission for disregarding objections raised by opposition parties during their visit to Guwahati in March 2023. She alleged that the Chief Minister of Assam’s statement on June 20, 2023, regarding delimitation has cast doubt on the government’s intentions, surpassing the impact of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and Assam Accord.