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Join poll process, PM to tell valley outfits

After reiterating Centre’s commitment to hold free and fair assembly elections in 2014, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to call upon all political outfits in Jammu & Kashmir, including the separatists, to participate in a democratic process during his two-day visit to the state. Shishir Gupta reports.

delhi Updated: Jun 20, 2013 01:21 IST
Shishir Gupta

After reiterating Centre’s commitment to hold free and fair assembly elections in 2014, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to call upon all political outfits in Jammu & Kashmir, including the separatists, to participate in a democratic process during his two-day visit to the state.

During his visit on June 25-26, he will receive the first ever train across the Valley from Qazigund (in Anantnag district) to Banihal at the Pir Panjal railway station on June 25, inaugurate the 850 MW Rattle Hydro-electric project at Kishtwar, formally commission phase II of 240 MW hydro-electric project at Uri, review Centrally sponsored schemes at Srinagar and visit Leh the next day. He is also slated to visit Kupwara but the programme is yet to be finalised.

It is not clear whether the PM will make any overtures towards the new government in Pakistan from the Sher-e-Kashmir Convention Centre in Srinagar, as it would largely depend on the signals his special envoy Satinder Lambah has got after meeting Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif last month.

A decade earlier, the then prime minister AB Vajpayee restarted the peace process after Operation Parakram by offering a hand of friendship to Pakistan on April 18, 2003.

However, Singh is expected to announce more funds for rural roads and electrification in the state and emphasise on good governance through empowerment of the Panchayat.

He will also stress on the peace dividends with booming tourism in the state and promote environment-friendly schemes by using non-conventional means like solar energy to generate power in the state, particularly in Ladakh.

While a section of the Indian security establishment is keen that the PM reiterate the dialogue offer to Hurriyat separatist amalgam, this may not happen as the Centre wants the separatists to show their popularity among the people by participating in democracy rather than resorting to verbal coercion or unrest.