Top political leaders reach Delhi for talks with PM today

3 Cong invitees to meet at Azad’s house

BJP to counter demand for dialogue with Pak

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, June 23: Stage was tonight set for first political engagement with the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir by the Central Government as majority of leaders including former Chief Ministers and Deputy Chief Ministers reached New Delhi to join the All-Party Meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7 Lok Kalyan Marg residence at 3 pm tomorrow.

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National Conference president and former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is also Chairman of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), will leave for New Delhi from Srinagar tomorrow morning while his son and party Vice President Omar Abdullah has already reached the Union capital.
Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, PCC (I) chief GA Mir and former Deputy Chief Minister and Congress veteran Tara Chand are already in New Delhi, BJP president Ravinder Raina and two other leaders Kavinder Gupta and Dr Nirmal Singh, both former Deputy Chief Ministers, landed in Delhi this evening to attend tomorrow’s meeting.
All three Congress leaders will meet at the residence of Azad at 11 am tomorrow to discuss strategy for the meeting. The Congress, according to sources, will demand restoration of full Statehood and State subject besides other Constitutional guarantees for J&K.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, People’s Conference Chairman Sajjad Ghani Lone, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party leader Syed Altaf Bukhari and CPM veteran MY Tarigami have also reached Delhi. Nationalist Panthers Party (NPP) Chairman Prof Bhim Singh is already in the Union capital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be joined in the meeting by Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh.
Before the meeting, the BJP leaders drafted their strategy and decided to counter PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s demand for talks with Pakistan.
BJP president Ravinder Raina told the Excelsior from New Delhi after the meeting that the BJP’s stand is quite clear that terror and talks can’t go together and therefore they will counter the PDP demand for talks with Pakistan.
“Pakistan has given only bloodshed to the people of Kashmir,” Raina said.
On the other, Raina added, the BJP will raise the issues of West Pakistan and Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK) refugees, Gorkha and Valmikis, Scheduled Castes, Paharis, border areas etc which have been addressed by Narendra Modi-led BJP Government.
Fourteen political leaders who have been invited to the meeting include four former Chief Ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mehbooba Mufti, four former Deputy Chief Ministers-Muzaffar Hussain Beig, Kavinder Gupta, Dr Nirmal Singh and Tara Chand, BJP UT chief Ravinder Raina, PCC (I) chief GA Mir, Altaf Bukhari (JKAP), Sajjad Lone (JKPC), MY Tarigami (CPM) and Prof Bhim Singh (NPP).
This is the first direct political engagement between the Prime Minister and prominent political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) constituents including National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and CPM, which have been invited for the talks had yesterday announced their decision to attend the meeting called by the Prime Minister.
The Congress top leadership in a meeting chaired yesterday by party president Sonia Gandhi and attended among others by former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had announced their decision to join the meeting called by the Prime Minister.
As already reported, the Central Government hasn’t fixed any specific agenda for the talks and kept it open for any kind of discussions.

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