Here’s how many Lok Sabha seats Uttar Pradesh may gain and Tamil Nadu lose after 2026
Uttar Pradesh may emerge as the biggest beneficiary in terms of gains in Lok Sabha seats after the first delimitation exercise, which is due to be conducted after the first census to be taken after 2026. Tamil Nadu, however, may see a decline of as many as eight seats to 31 Lok Sabha seats if it follows the current population growth trajectory, according to a report by Carnegie.
Delimitation is a process of redrawing the boundaries of parliamentary and assembly constituencies based on population numbers. The primary objective of this exercise is to ensure that each constituency has roughly the same number of voters for fair representation in the Parliament and state assemblies.
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Population growth in some northern states is faster than those in Southern India. As a result of comparatively lower population growth, after delimitation, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Kerala are expected to lose some Lok Sabha seats – something that has troubled politicians from the southern states who think that they may get punished for acting responsibly.
Uttar Pradesh currently has 80 seats but its parliamentary seats are projected to go up by 11 seats to 91 after the delimitation, while Tamil Nadu’s numbers may come down to 31 from currently 39. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana together have 42 seats, which may come down to 34 and Kerala’s strength may also come down from 20 to 12, a loss of eight seats. Karnataka is also projected to lose two seats to 26 from the current 28.
Among the potential major beneficiaries are Uttar Pradesh (11), Bihar (10), Rajasthan (6), and Madhya Pradesh (4). Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Delhi, and Chhattishgarh are also likely to add one seat each post-delimitation after 2026.
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As per the report, Uttar Pradesh is the most underrepresented state among all while Tamil Nadu is the most overrepresented in terms of population per MP. However, the report said that while MPs in Uttar Pradesh cater to nearly 3 million residents on average, compared to 1.8 million in Tamil Nadu, the number of registered voters per constituency is similar.
Incredibly, slightly more voters per constituency went to the polls in Tamil Nadu than in Uttar Pradesh in 2014, the report said. “This finding suggests that while citizens might “count less” in states with parliamentary underrepresentation, the same is not necessarily true of actual voters.”
Currently, there is a freeze on the delimitation of the constituencies of the Lok Sabha, whose maximum strength is 545. In 1976, the government stayed the delimitation exercise till 2000. However, in 2001, the stay was extended till 2026. Now, delimitation will take place after the first decennial census after 2026.
Freeze in delimitation has created unequal representation in the parliament. Political scientist Alistair McMillan had calculated that based on the 2001 Census, Tamil Nadu should have had 7 fewer Lok Sabha seats, while Uttar Pradesh should have gained 7 more.
As per the Carnegie report, after delimitation, four northern states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh) would collectively gain 22 seats, while four southern states (Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu) would lose 17 seats.
“Based on our population projections, these trends will only intensify as time goes on. In 2026, for instance, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh alone stand to gain 21 seats while Kerala and Tamil Nadu would forfeit as many as 16,” the report said.
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