New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): Senior Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand and party’s state president Ghulam Ahmad Mir will be part of the Congress delegation that will attend the June 24 all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with leaders of the union territory.
“Invitation for this meeting has been sent without any agenda. Ghulam Nabi Azad as former chief minister, Tara Chand as former Deputy chief minister and I as state party president will be attending the meeting,” Jammu and Kashmir Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir told ANI.
Earlier on Tuesday, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi chaired a high-level meeting with senior party leaders to decide on the course of action regarding the Prime Minister’s meeting.
“The meeting was attended by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Senior Congress leaders Dr Karan Singh, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Rajni Patil, JKPCC President Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Tariq Hameed Karra. After the meeting, it was decided that Congress will participate in the Prime Minister’s all-party meeting scheduled on June 24,” said Jammu and Kashmir Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma.
Meanwhile, the Gupkar Alliance, which includes mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, has already accepted the invitation to the Thursday’s all-party meeting by the Prime Minister.
This is the first high-level interaction between the Centre and political leadership mainly from Kashmir since August 5, 2019 when the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the state was bifurcated into two union territories.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mehbooba Mufti are among those invited for the meeting.
Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has reached out to 14 leaders including Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand and GA Mir; NC’s Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah; PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, J-K Apni Party’s Altaf Bukhari; BJP’s Ravinder Raina, Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta; CPI(M)’s M Y Tarigami, and National Panthers Party’s Prof Bheem Singh; Peoples Conference’s Sajad Gani Lone.
Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and Home Secretary would also attend the meeting.
It is learnt from reliable sources that no fixed agenda has been set for the meeting and a freewheeling discussion is expected on June 24.
However, delimitation, statehood and assembly elections are expected to remain key issues to be discussed at the all-party meeting.
Sources familiar with developments told ANI the move to reach out to political leadership in Jammu and Kashmir has sent a very positive message especially in the valley and it is expected to give momentum to the political process in a big way and talks can pave way for positive developments.
Jammu Kashmir witnessed District Development Council last year and also panchayat elections.
Home Minister Amit Shah had said in February this year in Lok Sabha that statehood will be restored to J-K at an appropriate time.
Sources indicate that the Centre would be willing to discuss all issues on the table including the statehood.
Although People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) has agreed to attend the meeting, its leaders especially Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said that they will ask New Delhi to restore Article 370 and 35 A. (ANI)