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Delhi to hold talks with pro-autonomy Kashmir leaders; ‘statehood, assembly elections on table’

Since the abrogation of Article 370, which granted limited autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir till August 2019, the Narendra Modi government is set to open the dialogue process with political leaders who oppose the unilateral withdrawal of the autonomy.

Jammu and Kashmir leaders are likely to travel to New Delhi soon to hold talks with the New Delhi government, Kashmir News Service reported on Wednesday quoting top sources.

Top political sources, who are in known of development informed, the news wire that communication lines have been drawn between central and the local leadership.

“BJP leadership reached out to J-K leaders and enquired about their well-being at a personal level during the Covid-19 pandemic. The relationship has started warming up and GoI is likely to call a meeting with J-K leadership regarding the future course of action,” a top leader, who was not named, told the news agency.

The sources added that talks were likely to revolve around the return of statehood status to the Jammu and Kashmir and early Assembly elections.

Last week the news agency had reported that GoI is keen to conduct assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir early next year.

National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah recently after meeting his PAGD partners at the official residence of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar showed his readiness to engage with New Delhi. “We have not closed any doors for talks. If invited, we may look into it,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, whose party has challenged the abrogation of Article 370 in India’s Supreme Court told reporters in summer capital Srinagar.

A senior leader associated with PAGD said they discussed the prospects of engagement with New Delhi.

Newly appointed spokesperson of PAGD, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami told the news wire that the mainstream parties of Jammu and Kashmir have never been against the dialogue process. “if there will be any call from centre regarding dialogue, we will welcome it as we have been committed to dialogues,” he said.

The NC MPs, who abstained from the Delimitation Commission’s meeting so far, are likely to be part of the process of Commission, the news report said.

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