New Delhi/Srinagar, June 23
Most of the 14 leaders, including four ex-chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir, invited for an all-party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Union Territory on June 24, arrived here by Wednesday evening.
The Thursday’s meeting will be the first between the Centre and mainstream Jammu and Kashmir politicians after the abrogation of Article 370 and the divisions of the erstwhile state into two union territories in 2019.
With no agenda announced for the Thursday meeting, the J&K leaders said they will go with an open mind.
“We have not been given an agenda. We will be attending the meeting to know what the Centre is offering,” said CPM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, who is also a spokesman for the six-party People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).
Tarigami is among the 14 leaders invited for the all-party meeting convened by Modi. Others invited include four former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
The Communist leader said the PAGD will “be out there to protect the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
This is the first meeting between Jammu and Kashmir mainstream parties and the Prime Minister after the Centre revoked the erstwhile state’s special status and carved two union territories out of it in August 2019.
While the PAGD — a grouping of the National Conference, PDP, CPM, CPI, Awami National Conference and People’s Movement — has decided to attend the meeting, the constituents will be sending their individual representatives as well, indicating the bloc might be having a difference of opinion over the key issue of restoration of special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The PAGD was formed with the aim of striving to restore Jammu and Kashmir to its position as it existed before Article 370 was revoked on August 5, 2019.
The National Conference, meanwhile, continued intra-party interactions and a delegation of Jammu-based leaders headed by Devendra Rana met party president Farooq Abdullah at the latter’s residence here on Wednesday.
“Our only stand is a single J-K, to maintain its unity and integrity and respecting the wishes and aspirations of the people of J-K,” Rana said.
He said dialogue and inclusiveness is an important and vital essence of democracy.
“Any dialogue that can take us out of this morass and can lead to the welfare of the state of J-K and its people, we are all for it,” he said.
He said the party leaders from Jammu have reposed faith in Abdullah as he is not only the president of the NC, but the tallest leader of J-K. PTI