Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Tara Chand arrive at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg – Prime Minister’s official residence – for the all-party meeting. (Pic/ANI)
The high-profile all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir began at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, Prime Minister’s official residence in Delhi on Thursday afternoon.
As many as 14 prominent leaders from the Union Territory are attending the meeting.
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.
Among the leaders who are participating in the meeting are Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand and GA Mir; National Conference’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; National Panthers Party’s Prof Bheem Singh; and Peoples Conference’s Sajad Gani Lone.
Delimitation, statehood, and assembly elections are expected to remain key issues for discussion at the meeting.
Ahead of the meeting, Farooq Abdullah, on Thursday, said, “I am going to the meeting. I will keep the demands there and then I will talk to you.”
When asked about Mehbooba Mufti’s comment about discussing the restoration of Article 370 and 35 A in the UT during the meeting, Abdullah said, “Mufti is the president of her party, why should I speak on what she said.”
Although the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) agreed to attend the meeting, its leaders especially the Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said that they will ask New Delhi to restore Article 370 and 35 A.
Earlier on Wednesday, Apni Party chief Syed Altaf Bukhari, welcoming the all-party meet, had said: “I look at it as a positive development. The Prime Minister had started a process on March 14, 2020, when a delegation of the Apni Party met him and now he has called an all-party meeting. It is a welcome step.”