The Narendra Modi government is likely to hold discussions with all regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir before the end of this month as part of its initiatives to bolster political processes, including holding assembly elections, reports said on Friday.
The BJP government may even invite National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah, PDP chairperson Mehbooba Mufti, Altaf Bukhari of the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party, People’s Conference head Sajjad Lone for discussion, the report said.
Both Abdullah and Mehbooba had served as chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting is likely to be chaired by Modi and attended by Home Minister Amit Shah and other central leaders.
Top sources told a local news wire KNS that formal invitation letters will be sent to all the top leaders of J&K parties for participation in the round table conference.
The move comes shortly after recent rumours over further bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir which were attributed to the handiwork of some ” anti-national elements” by J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha.
Rumours of further bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir were prevalent immediately after the replacement of BVR Subrahmanyam as Chief Secretary by Ashok Kumar Mehta an IAS officer of the erstwhile J&K cadre who has occupied several top key positions during his 30-year long chequered bureaucratic career in erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state.
Amid rumours over further bifurcation of Jammu & Kashmir, NC president Farooq Abdullah-led Peoples’ Alliance For Gupkar Declaration or PAGD had after several months of silence held a meeting in Srinagar after which the local leaders reiterated their demand for restoration of statehood and special status revoked by Government of India on August 5, 2019.
Asked about the prospect of talks with the Centre, CPI(M) leader and spokesperson of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) M Y Tarigami said there has been no word from New Delhi, but added that if it happens, it would be welcomed.
“We have never closed our doors for meaningful engagement with the Centre. Though I have no information about any dialogue, if it happens, it will be welcomed,” Tarigami told PTI from Srinagar.
PAGD is an alliance of some parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the NC and the PDP, that was formed in the aftermath of the abrogation of its special status and its bifurcation into union territories.
JKAP president Altaf Bukhari said, “I welcome, if and when, the talks take place. This vindicates our position of March 2020 when we had made it clear that dialogue is the only mechanism to restore democracy and statehood for Jammu and Kashmir.” “Better late than never as the solution to all our problems lies with New Delhi and nowhere else,” he added.
The Jammu and Kashmir units of the BJP and the Congress are also likely to be part of these discussions, which are being seen as part of efforts to strengthen normal political processes in the union territory.
The officials said the delimitation commission under the leadership of Justice (retd) Ranjana Desai, which was set up immediately after the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill in Parliament, is likely to expedite its work and submit its report. The commission was set up in February 2020 and has been given an extension of one year in March this year.
Barring Bukhari, other leaders have served a spell of detention following the August 2019 decision of the Centre to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the erstwhile state into union territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.