J&K BJP rejects PDP’s suggestion to talk to Pak before all party meet
The sharp divide in opinions of political parties in Jammu and Kashmir has come to the fore ahead of the all party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday with the J&K Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Ravinder Raina vehemently opposing People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) suggestion to engage Pakistan in talks.
“Talks with Pakistan are not possible. Guns and talks can’t go together. Pakistan is training and pushing terrorists into J&K for causing bloodshed, and operating terror camps in PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). In the past 35 years, Pakistan has caused bloodshed in J&K. Therefore, the question of holding talks with Pakistan doesn’t arise at all,” Raina said on Wednesday afternoon before leaving for Delhi to take part in the all party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir.
14 leaders, including some ex-chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, have been invited to attend the first such meeting between the Centre and mainstream parties from the region after the abrogation of Article 370 and 35(A) and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories in August 2019.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, whose party is one of the six in the Gupkar alliance, has suggested that India can talk to Pakistan “If they can... talk to the Taliban” to bring about a resolution to the Kashmir issue. People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has also said that it will press for restoration of Article 370, 35(A) and Jammu Kashmir’s statehood.
The battle lines are clearly drawn for the Thursday meeting with the J&K BJP having declared that they will oppose any attempt by the PAGD to raise demands for restoration of Article 370 and 35-A and talks with Pakistan and separatists.
Raina also brushed aside concerns that some Jammu-based parties were not invited and said that BJP will represent all Jammu residents at the meeting. “We have represented them and will do so again. They should feel rest assured that their issues ...will [be] put forth... before the PM,” he said.
Raina and Dr Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta, the two former deputy chief ministers of the party left for Delhi on Wednesday afternoon.
Other leaders who are scheduled to participate in the meeting are Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand and GA Mir; National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah; Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti; J-K Apni Party’s Altaf Bukhari; CPI(M)’s MY Tarigami; National Panthers Party’s Prof Bheem Singh; and Peoples Conference’s Sajad Gani Lone.