Statehood, delimitation: Key takeaways from PM Modi-J&K leaders meet
This was the first meeting of its kind since the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union territories in August 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah held discussions with representatives from several political outfits of Jammu and Kashmir in a meeting that lasted over three hours on Thursday. Fourteen prominent leaders from Jammu and Kashmir took part in the meeting. Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha, National Security Advisor Shri Ajit Doval, MoS (PMO) Shri Jitender Singh and senior officials were also in attendance.
This was the first meeting of its kind since the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union territories in August 2019, where the following points were discussed.
Emphasis on delimitation
Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah stressed on delimitation and the subsequent elections that would follow a delimitation exercise. Soon after the conclusion of the meeting, PM Modi took to Twitter to convey that delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and J&K gets an elected government that gives "strength to J&K’s development trajectory". Amit Shah emphasised that the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in Parliament, the government said in a press release.
Demand for statehood
The leaders hailing from Jammu and Kashmir unanimously demanded the restoration of Kashmir’s statehood. People’s Conference leader Muzzafar Hussain Baig said, “All leaders demanded statehood. To which the PM said, the delimitation process should conclude first and then other issues will be addressed.”
The Prime Minister said during the meeting that the Union government was fully committed to the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir and stressed conducting assembly elections similar to the District Development Council elections conducted last year. The Prime Minister also assured the representatives that an elected government cannot be substituted with a bureaucratic one.
Aspirations of Kashmiri youth
The Prime Minister talked to J&K leaders about the aspirations of the youth of Kashmir who, he said, are poised to provide political leadership in the coming years. ANI reported that PM Modi also discussed offering opportunities to the youth of J&K.
Amit Shah credited J&K for coming a long way in terms of development. Around 90% saturation has been achieved in individual beneficiary Central Government schemes in J&K. Several major road projects, two new AIIMS, 7 new Medical Colleges have also been set up, according to the official press release. New industrial policy has been notified with a ₹28,400 crore package to accelerate industrial growth with the aim of creating 4.5 lakh jobs, the release added.