P Chidambaram on Jammu and Kashmir election

New Delhi [India], June 25 (ANI): Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday said that the Congress, Jammu and Kashmir parties and leaders want statehood first and elections afterwards, but the Centre’s wants elections first and statehood later.

The Congress leader’s statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured leaders from Jammu and Kashmir that the Union government favours holding assembly elections and restoring its statehood once the delimitation exercise is over.

“Congress and other JK parties and leaders want Statehood first and Elections afterwards. Government’s response is Elections first and Statehood later,” said the Congress leader in a tweet.

He further said, “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,” it added.

Prime Minister Modi chaired the all-party meeting which was attended by 14 prominent leaders from the Union Territory.

This was 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 participated in the meeting were 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.

Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and Home Secretary also attended the meeting.

Earlier in March this year, the Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir, which was set up in March 2020 to redraw the parliamentary and assemblies constituencies, got a one-year extension from the Central government.

The delimitation panel, headed by retired Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, was set up only for one year. Later, the panel got A gazette notification was issued by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice on March 3, 2021, in this regard. (ANI)

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