Polls or Statehood? PM Modi Calls For All-Party Meeting With Jammu And Kashmir Leaders

PM Modi Address, Jammu and Kashmir

The meeting will be the first such exercise since the Centre announced the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019

Srinagar| Speculations are rife regarding the future of Jammu and Kashmir after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for an all-party meeting later this month. It is yet not known whether the meeting will discuss the possibility of assembly elections in Kashmir or restoration of Article 370, as demanded by several Kashmiri leaders. According to government officials, Prime Minister Narendra Modi may chair a meeting with all political parties on June 24 as part of the Centre’s initiative to strengthen political processes, including holding assembly elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting will be the first such exercise since the Centre announced the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 and the bifurcation of it into two union territories. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other central leaders are likely to attend the meeting. It is believed that top officials of IB and RAW will also be involved. Officials said the central leadership has started the process of inviting National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party’s (JKAP) Altaf Bukhari and People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone for discussion.

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Mehbooba said on Friday night that she had received a call from the Centre for a meeting on June 24. She, however, said that she has not decided about the invitation yet. “I will take a final decision after discussing it with my party members,” Mehbooba said. Both Abdullah and Mehbooba have served as chief ministers of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. When asked about the possibility of talks with the Centre, CPI(M) leader and People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) spokesperson MY Tarigami said there has been no message from New Delhi, but if it happens, it would be welcome. Will be done.

Tarigami said, “We have never closed our doors for meaningful engagement with the Centre. Although I am not aware of any talks, if it does happen, it would be most welcome.” The PAGD is an alliance of a few parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the National Conference and the PDP, which was formed after the Centre’s August 2019 decisions.

JKAP president Bukhari said, “I welcome, if and when, talks take place.” “This confirms our position as of March 2020 when we made it clear that dialogue is the only mechanism to restore democracy and statehood to Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

The Jammu and Kashmir units of the BJP and the Congress are also likely to be part of these discussions, which are being seen as part of efforts to strengthen normal political processes in the union territory.

The central government is likely to hold talks with all the regional parties of Jammu and Kashmir before the end of this month. Sources said that this important meeting will be held on June 24. Officials said the Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (retd) R Desai, which was set up soon after the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill in Parliament, is likely to expedite its work and submit its report. The commission was constituted in February 2020 and has been given an extension of one year in March this year.

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