J&K All-party Meeting: P Chidambaram Slams Centre For Prioritising Polls Before Statehood

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday slammed the Centre for not assuring restoration of statehood before elections are conducted in Jammu and Kashmir. His remarks come a day after PM Modi chaired a high-level meeting with leaders of prominent political parties in J&K at his 7 Lok Kalyan Marg residence in the national capital. According to Chidambaram, the sanctity of elections shall be maintained only if J&K is a state. 

“The horse pulls the cart. A state must conduct elections. Only such elections will be free and fair. Why does the government want the cart in front and the horse behind? It is bizarre,” RS MP P Chidambaram stated. 

Speaking to the media after the meeting yesterday, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad mentioned 5 demands put forth by his party before the PM and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. This includes restoration of statehood, conducting Assembly polls, ensuring the return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, the release of all political prisoners who were arrested when Article 370 was abrogated and land rights and job guarantee for locals. Interestingly, the Sonia Gandhi-led party did not ask for the restoration of the special status- a demand which has been repeatedly raised by Chidambaram. 

PM Modi chairs crucial meeting 

14 politicians namely – NC president Farooq Abdullah, NC vice-president Omar Abdullah, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ghulam Ahmad Mir and Tara Chand, J&K Apni party supremo Syed Altaf Bukhari,  JKPC leaders Sajad Lone and Muzaffar Baig, Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh, BJP leaders Ravinder Raina, Kavinder Gupta, and Nirmal Singh attending the meeting on June 24. These leaders shared their views on giving a further fillip to the democratic process in J&K. The PM appreciated the cordial atmosphere of talks and talked about strengthening democracy at the grassroots.

At the same time, he promised that the Union Territory will get an elected government after the delimitation process is over. Expressing satisfaction at the progress of development projects in J&K, he urged all the leaders to work together to realise the aspirations of the youth. Speaking on this occasion, Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated that several major road projects, two new AIIMS and 7 new Medical Colleges are being set up in J&K. Moreover, he stressed that the delimitation and peaceful Assembly polls will be “important milestones” in restoring statehood as promised in the Parliament. 

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