To carry forward the proposed peace talks in Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre may soon appoint a group of interlocutors headed by a Congress leader with the rank of a Union Cabinet Minister.
Home Minister P Chidambaram is believed to have discussed the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a one-on-one meeting this afternoon in which names of some senior Congress leaders are understood to have figured.
The Centre is also reportedly mulling the option of appointing a political person as Governor of Jammu and Kashmir for the first time in the history of the sensitive state, official sources said.
Sources said Jammu and Kashmir has not had a political person ever as Governor and appointment of a politician is expected to give a major boost to the initiative.
The name of Union Minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan is believed to have been considered as the head of the group of interlocutors and the names are expected to be announced "as soon as possible".
There was speculation that former Chief Minister Digvijay Singh could be among those considered but there was no confirmation.
The appointment of interlocutors is part of the Centre's eight point peace initiative announced last fortnight.
Sources said most of the interlocutors would be from outside Jammu and Kashmir but would be having fair idea about the issues there.
The issue of appointing Muslim, Hindu and women representative as interlocutors was also being considered, sources said adding the chairman of the group would certain be a close confidant of the Prime Minister.
The interlocutors, when appointed, would not limit their visit only to Srinagar but certainly travel to small towns like Baramulla, Anantnag, Sopore, Uri, Doda, Rajouri etc. and interact with cross sections of people.