New Delhi: Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, in a meeting with politicians from Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, assured his commitment to restoring full statehood in JK at the right time.
Fourteen mainstream Jammu and Kashmir leaders from eight political parties, including four Chief Ministers, attended the three-hour meeting aimed at getting the political process back on course in the region after it lost its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution in 2019 and was downgraded from a state to two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
A report by NDTV quoting sources said that Narendra Modi said statehood would be restored “at an appropriate time” but urged the parties to get on board with delimitation or the redrawing of assembly constituencies to enable elections. Elections can happen soon after delimitation, it was said, and “most participants expressed willingness for it”, said sources.
“The main focus of the meeting was to strengthen the democratic process. PM said that we are fully committed to the democratic process in J&K. He stressed that holding assembly elections just like the successful District Development Council elections is a priority,” the report quoted sources from GoI as saying.
On Thursday, the all-party meeting at Narendra Modi’s residence in New Delhi lasted for three and a half hours. It was attended by 14 politicians, including veteran politician and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah. Most politicians stressed on the restoration of the political process in the Valley.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said that she told Narendra Modi that the people of JK are angry and humiliated post-August 5, 2019. “I told the PM that the way article 370 was unconstitutionally and illegally revoked by the BJP. I told him that PDP and the people of J&K will fight for months and years to get back Article 370 as we have not got it from Pakistan from China but from Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Valabhai Patel and that restoring special status was highly inevitable,” she said.
The PDP chief said that she told the PM that if the Government of India is talking to China why can’t it take forward the process with Pakistan. “I told him that the fresh talks have led to a ceasefire and zero infiltration and that why can’t it go further,” she said.
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah said that he told Narendra Modi they don’t stand with the decision taken on August 5, 2019. “We requested the PM that our fight will continue but it is essential to reverse some decisions that aren’t all in the interest of J&K. It was given the status of a UT, people don’t like it. They want full statehood for J&K with J&K cadre restored,” he told reporters after attending the meeting.
Apni Party president Syed Altaf Bukhari told reporters that the talks were held in a good atmosphere, saying that Modi gave a patient hearing to the issues of all the invitees. He said that Modi has assured that assembly elections will be conducted soon after the delimitation process is completed, adding that the invitees from J&K were asked to participate in the delimitation process.
Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Lone said: “The meeting was held in a very cordial manner. We came out quite positive that hopefully there will be some delivery for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
BJP JK chief Ravinder Raina said that all leaders of Jammu and Kashmir have been assured by Narendra Modi that all will work together for the future and betterment of J&K. “PM Modi heard everyone and said that all steps will be taken for the development of the people of JK,” Raina said.
Meanwhile, in a Tweet, Home Minister Amit Shah said that today’s meeting on J&K was conducted in a very cordial environment and everyone expressed their commitment to democracy and the constitution. “It was stressed to strengthen the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir,” the Tweet read.