Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the ongoing delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir has to happen quickly so that polls can be held to instal an elected government that gives strength to its development trajectory.
In a series of tweets after a three-and-a-half-hour-long meeting with 14 political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said the deliberations were an important step in the ongoing efforts towards a developed and progressive Jammu and Kashmir where all-round growth is furthered.
‘Our priority is to strengthen grassroots democracy in J&K. Delimitation has to happen at a quick pace so that polls can happen and J-K gets an elected Government that gives strength to J&K’s development trajectory,’ he said.
The prime minister said it was the biggest strength of Indian democracy that people can sit across a table and exchange views.
‘I told the leaders of J-K that it is the people, specially the youth who have to provide political leadership to J-K, and ensure their aspirations are duly fulfilled,’ he said.
The prime minister chaired the meeting at his official residence in New Delhi.
This is the first interaction between the central leadership and mainstream parties since August 5, 2019, when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The four former chief ministers of the erstwhile state who participated in the discussions were Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad and People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti.
Four former deputy chief ministers were in attendance too — Congress’ Tara Chand, People’s Conference leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta.
Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) chief Altaf Bukhari, Sajjad Lone of the People’s Conference, J-K Congress head G A Mir, BJP’s Ravinder Raina and Panthers Party leader Bhim Singh also formed part of the delegation.