PM's all-party meeting on J&K today, leaders may press for statehood
The all-party meeting is the Centre's first such outreach since the controversial scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and its bifurcation two years ago.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair an all-party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. This is the first meeting between the Centre and mainstream parties from Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and the divisions of the erstwhile state into two union territories in 2019.
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Most of the 14 leaders, including some ex-chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir who have been invited for the meeting, arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday evening. These leaders have said that they will meet the Prime Minister with an open mind. The meeting is scheduled to take place at 3pm.
"We have not been given an agenda. We will be attending the meeting to know what the Centre is offering,” CPM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, who is also a spokesman for the six-party People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), said on Wednesday.
The leaders have indicated that they will press for restoration of Article 370 and full statehood. “The biggest thing what has been taken away from us should be given back to us,” said Tarigami.
Apart from these two, the 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; BJP's Ravinder Raina, Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta; CPI(M)'s MY Tarigami; National Panthers Party's Prof Bheem Singh; and Peoples Conference's Sajad Gani Lone.
While Mehbooba Mufti, Ravinder Raina and Kavinder Gupta arrived in the national capital on Wednesday, Farooq Abdullah will reach Delhi on Thursday morning.
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Union home minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and home secretary would also attend the meeting.
Meanwhile, a day before the all-party meeting, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday held virtual discussions with its representatives in Jammu and Kashmir and deputy commissioners regarding the delimitation of the 90 Assembly constituencies in the Union Territory.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019 was notified by the government on August 9, 2019, which paved the way for the creation of two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature and Ladakh, without it.
The act provides that the number of seats in the legislative assembly of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114, and delimitation of the constituencies will be determined by the Election Commission.