Jammu and Kashmir: Full statehood top agenda for Congress in meeting with PM Modi, non-committal on Article 370

Jammu and Kashmir PM Modi Congress Ghulam Nabi AzadJammu and Kashmir PM Modi Congress Ghulam Nabi AzadSenior Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha member Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that the restoration of full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir will be the top agenda of the party.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi inviting political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir for a physical meeting on June 24, the Congress leaders have said that full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir will top their agenda for the meeting. Senior Congress leader and former Rajya Sabha member Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that the restoration of full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir will be the top agenda of the party. The Congress leaders, however, remained non-committal on the issues of special status to J&K and restoration of Article 370.

The NDA government had abrogated Article 370 and approved the splitting of J&K into two Union Territories in August 2019.

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Azad said that he is in talks with senior party leaders from Jammu and Kashmir over the issue of Article 370. According to reports, a meeting of the J&K Policy Planning Group of the Congress will be held today to give final shape to the party’s stand for the meeting with PM Modi.

Ghulam Nabi Azad praised the Centre for taking steps to discuss the political process in the Union Territory.

Azad had been critical of the Union government for scrapping Article 370. However, his latest remarks are in line with the party’s stand that stresses more on the restoration of statehood and democratic process than Article 370.

While senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha Member P Chidambaram has also vouched for restoration of J&K’s full statehood, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had recently said in a Clubhouse discussion that the party should look into the matter of restoration of Article 370. However, the Congress is yet to make its official stand clear on the issue.

“Congress Party’s position, reiterated yesterday, that full Statehood must be restored to J&K should clear any doubt or ambiguity. What was made under the Constitution cannot be unmade by an Act of Parliament misinterpreting and misusing the provisions of the Constitution. Please remember that the dismembering of J&K has been challenged in the Supreme Court and the cases are pending for nearly 2 years. In the monsoon session, Parliament should repeal the offending laws and restore the status quo ante in J&K. That is the only way to draw the starting line for a political resolution of the Kashmir issue,” said Chidambaram in a series of tweets.

The meeting called by PM Modi is the first such exercise after the abrogation of Article 370. The Centre has invited National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah; Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand and G.A. Mir; PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti; Peoples Conference’s Sajad Gani Lone and Muzaffar Hussian Baigh; 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.

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