PM Modi-J&K leaders meet: Our demands included full-fledged statehood, elections to restore democracy soon: Ghulam Nabi Azad

J&K Congress President Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that it was a good meeting, a good initiative. He said, "The Prime Minister heard all leaders. In response to them, he said, "let us move ahead."

Created On: Jun 24, 2021 20:45 ISTModified On: Jun 24, 2021 20:49 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an all-party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir on June 24, 2021. The Prime Minister said during the meeting that the government is fully committed to the "democratic process" in the region and holding the assembly elections is a priority.

J&K Congress President Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that it was a good meeting, a good initiative. He said, "The Prime Minister heard all leaders. In response to them, he said, "let us move ahead."

BJP leader Nirmal Singh said after the meeting that delimitation will be done in Jammu and Kashmir and further process will be undertaken after this. He also stated that the Delimitation Commission will hold discussions with everyone, after which things will move forward.

PM Modi-J&K leaders meet: Key Highlights

• The Prime Minister held a three-and-a-half-hour-long meeting with 14 leaders from major political parties of Jammu and Kashmir. 

• During the meeting, the Prime Minister reportedly patiently heard out suggestions and inputs from all participants.

• He also assured the leaders that his government is fully committed to the democratic process in J&K. 

• PM Modi further stressed that holding assembly elections is a priority just like the successful conduct of DDC (District Development Council) elections. 

• PM Modi also expressed  happiness over the fact that all participants shared their frank and honest views.

• The meeting was an open discussion that revolved around building a better future for Jammu and Kashmir. 

• PM Modi expressed his happiness on the commitment to the Constitution and democracy espoused by all participants. 

• He pointed out that even one death in J&K is painful and it is 'our collective duty to protect our younger generation'.

• He also stressed the need to provide opportunities to the youth of the Union Territory,.

• He also discussed with the leaders regarding the developmental work in J&K and many pro-people initiatives, which have been carried out in Jammu and Kashmir over the last two years.

• PM Modi further expressed satisfaction with the acceleration of development in the Union Territory and said that 'it is creating new hope and aspirations among the people'.

• The Prime Minister also stressed that while there would be political differences but everyone should work in the national interest for the benefit of the people of J&K. 

Main Focus

• The main focus of the meeting was to strengthen the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir. 

• The discussion primarily focused on holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir soon after the delimitation process is completed. Most leaders expressed their willingness for the same. 

• The Prime Minister also emphasised on the need to strengthen democracy at the grassroots level to ensure the upliftment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 

• PM Modi also stated that he wants to remove 'Dilli ki Duri as well as Dil Ki Duri'.

Who all attended the meeting?

The leaders who participated in the meeting include: 

Congress leaders: Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand and GA Mir

National Conference leaders: Dr. Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah

PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti

J-K Apni Party Chief Altaf Bukhari

Peoples Conference's Sajad Gani Lone

National Panthers Party Chief Prof Bheem Singh

CPI(M)'s M Y Tarigami

BJP leaders: Ravinder Raina, Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta

Others leaders: Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Home Secretary of J&K

Why is this meeting important?

This was the first meeting between the Centre and the political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and bifurcation of the state into two union territories. The relations did not really get off to a great start with most of the senior J&K leaders being placed under preventive detention by the centre before it revoked Article 370 including former Chief Ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti. 

What did the J&K political leaders say?

Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad said after the meeting, "Almost 80% of parties spoke on Art 370 but the matter is sub judice in court. Our demands included full-fledged statehood soon, elections to restore democracy, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, all political detainees to be released and land, employment guarantee."

BJP leader Nirmal Singh said that almost all political parties came to a consensus that there should be peace in J&K and a govt should come there democratically. He said that the Prime Minister appealed to all the leaders that there would be peace only when everyone works together.

He also added saying that delimitation will be done and after this, the further process will be undertaken. 

J&K Congress President Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that it was a good meeting, a good initiative. He shared that the Prime Minister heard all leaders. "In response to them, he said, "let us move ahead," said Mir.

NC leader Omar Abdullah said after the meeting that all leaders demanded full statehood for J&K. "Both PM & HM said the work for elections and restoring statehood should start soon. Azad Sahib said that first statehood should be restored and then elections should be held. On this PM didn't say anything," he said. 

He further stated that "we have told PM that we don't stand with what was done on 5th Aug 2019. We're not ready to accept it. But we won't take law into hands. We'll fight this in court. We also told PM that there's been breach of trust b/w State & Centre. It's Centre's duty to restore it."

PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti said that the people of J&K are in a lot of difficulties after 5th Aug 2019. She said, "They're angry, upset & emotionally shattered. They feel humiliated. I told PM that people of J&K don't accept the manner in which Article 370 was abrogated unconstitutionally, illegally &immorally."

Union Home Minister Amit Shah shared that the meeting was conducted in a very cordial environment. He said that everyone expressed their commitment to democracy and the constitution. He said that we are committed to ensure all round development of J&K. 

The Home Minister said that the future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in parliament.

CPI(M) leader Yousuf Tarigami said that Prime Minister and Home Minister heard our concerns, demands and aspirations today but we did not get any concrete assurances from them.

Union Minister Jitendra Singh said after the meeting that it was a positive effort towards giving development & strengthening democracy in J&K. He added that the meeting was held in a conducive atmosphere. Everyone showed their loyalty towards India's democracy & constitution.

He said that the next important step in democratic process in J&K is Assembly polls & we've to move to it together. He said that for this, the delimitation process will have to be completed swiftly so that all sections get proper political representation in Assembly.

Background

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on June 23, 2021 had held virtual discussions with its representatives in Jammu and Kashmir and deputy commissioners regarding the delimitation of the 90 Assembly constituencies in the Union Territory.

The centre had notified the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019 on August 9, 2019, which paved the way for the creation of two Union Territories: Ladakh that will not have a legislature and Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature.

The Act proposes that the number of seats in the J&K legislative assembly be increased from 107 to 114 and delimitation of the constituencies be determined by the Election Commission.

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