PM’s meeting plan for Jammu and Kashmir got cautious reception

PM’s meeting plan for Jammu and Kashmir got cautious reception: There is a cautious reception to the meeting plans for Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting other political leaders and politicians from Jammu and Kashmir later this month. The cautious reception is being received amid the expectations that the consultations may be the first step towards holding of assembly elections in the state. In this situation some regional parties including PDP, National Conference and People’s Conference are also being careful in assessing the implications of the initiative. They are also trying to highlight the centrality of their demands like restoration of statehood.

Some parties are also demanding complete restoration of pre-August 5, 2019 status of J&K i.e.restoration of 35A and 370. In all cases, this statehood demand is expected to be definitely a key element of any election campaign. Any discussion on elections is currently a future scenario. For discussing on elections, the delimitation commission must first submit its recommendations for new MLA and Lok Sabha constituencies. Although Political parties had previously kept away but they will now be given another chance to engage with the commission. Political parties and leaders in J&K have been debating whether “restoration” of statehood will mean a full-state status or the Centre will keep the Union Territory’s home department (law & order) under its control.

Just during these two years after removal of article 35A and 370, alternatives to PDP, NC and Congress have started gaining some traction in Muslim-majority Kashmir. This was particularly seen during recent Panchayati polls. Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari said “People at the grassroots have tasted real power for the first time and now have a say in determining their own development agenda,” Sajjad Lone of People’s Conference and Yousuf Tarigami of CPM, also the convenor of Gupkar Alliance, confirmed that they received some calls for the PM’s meet in New Delhi at 3pm on June 24. Bukhari, Congress and CPM acknowledged this move. They also said that the talks were an encouraging move to open up the stalled political discourse with the Centre.

As per PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti she got a call about the all-party meet on J&K going to happen next week. She said her party’s political affairs committee will also deliberate on the issue on Sunday. As per some sources in PDP, Mehbooba has reservations on joining the all-party meet as according to them it is an exercise to show to the international opinion that the political discourse with local parties has begun in the country.

PDP’s demand is said to be the restoration of Article 370. NC patron Farooq Abdullah said, “So far, we haven’t received any formal invite for talks. If we get any invitation, we will first sit and discuss the strategy to be adopted for the meeting.” He further added “Solutions to J&K’s problems lie at New Delhi, not Islamabad or London. Delhi’s invitation is a welcome development,” He also said “this is a chance to restore statehood” hoping an announcement for an early poll will follow the PM’s meeting

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