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Why Modi’s meeting with all parts of J&K is crucial and what is likely to be on the agenda

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The all-party meeting in Jammu and Kashmir is the first such exercise since the Center announced the abrogation of the former state’s special status and its bifurcation into two Union Territories in August 2019

The central government has called a meeting of all regional political parties in Jammu and Kashmir. Various media reports have confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to chair a meeting with all political parties in Union territory on June 24. The meeting is also likely to be attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other central leaders.

Why is the meeting of all parties relevant?

  1. This is the first such exercise since the Center announced the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into Union territories in August 2019.
  2. Calling on all stakeholders to sit down, the central government on Saturday extended an olive branch to regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including those whose leaders have been held captive for months in the wake of the repeal of section 370.
  3. Guests at the meeting include prominent Kashmiri politicians and members of the Gupkar Alliance, including National Conference (NC) leader Farooq Abdullah, PDP Chairman Mehbooba Mufti, Altaf Bukhari of the Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party ( JKAP) and People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone, officials said PTI.

What is the agenda for the meeting?

Although the news has not yet reached the official channels of the Prime Minister’s Office, PTIquoted official sources to say that the meeting was part of the initiatives of the Center to strengthen political processes (read the holding of elections) in the territory of the Union.

Another possible area of ​​discussion could be the development of the hilly region which has been crippled by decades of activism and frequent flooding every monsoon.

This rings all the more true as the meeting comes in the context of Shah’s virtual meeting with the state administration on Friday, where he discussed various development projects and the status of central government programs in the territory of The union. He said the overall development and well-being of the people of Jammu and Kashmir was the top priority of the Modi government.

How important is the meeting to J&K politics?

The former state of Jammu and Kashmir came under presidential rule after the BJP ended its alliance with Mehbooba Mufti in June 2018. There has been no political process since then, except local body surveys, Block Development Council surveys in October, and District Development municipal surveys in December 2020.

Dialogue between key Valley politicians and New Delhi has virtually stalled following their informal arrests and prolonged detention after the August 2019 decision.

As a result, the political stream in the region, especially those with a solid base in the Kashmir Valley, have criticized successive administrations in the Union territory for neglecting the demands of the people and raising questions about the slogan. development launched after August 2019..

In addition, there have been calls by regional leaders to “boycott polls” in the past, until the statehood of Union territory is restored. This could be dangerous for the fragile peace in the Valley, as the absence of dominant rulers can open the field to extremist elements.

BJPleadership’s scathing comments against Valley politicians also didn’t help the relationship. Senior BJP officials called Kashmir’s rulers “anti-national” and dubbed their alliance “Gupkar gang”.

A democratic session at such a time can help re-establish a working relationship between the Valley management and the Center.

How did the previous J&K polls go?

Local parties, many of whom are now part of an umbrella alliance called the People’s Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration or the Gupkar Alliance, boycotted the Block Development Council (BDC) polls to oppose the repeal of the article 370 and allegations of embezzlement in the development district. Council polls (DDC) claimed their candidates were not allowed to campaign freely.

However, despite their claims, residents of Jammu and Kashmir, including those in the Kashmir Valley, surprised everyone by participating in large numbers in both polls.

In BDC polls, the final turnout in most districts of Jammu and Kashmir’s 22 districts was over 95%, with a peak in Srinagar, where a turnout of 100% was recorded. At least 51% of people came to vote in the DDC polls.

These DDC elections, which took place on local issues such as water, electricity and roads, were swept away by the candidates of the People’s Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration and the BJP in Jammu.

In the BDC elections, despite being the only major political party in the fray, the BJP only managed to win 81 seats while the independent candidates won 217 blocs.

How has Valley management responded to the development?

Mehbooba said PTI Friday night that she had received a call from the Center for a meeting on June 24th. “I haven’t made a decision yet. I will talk to my party members and take a final call,” she said.

Farooq said YEARS that he too has received an invitation from the central government, however, he has not yet clearly expressed his position.

Farooq and Mehbooba had both served as chief minister of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked about the prospect of talks with the Center, MY Tarigami, leader of the JPC and spokesperson for the Gupkar Alliance, told The Times of India that “regional, as well as national, opposition parties will certainly attend the meeting. multi-stakeholder, provided that the agenda is consistent with the request for restoration of the status of Jammu and Kashmir prior to August 5, 2019.

“We have never closed our doors to meaningful engagement with the Center,” Tarigami said earlier.PTI.

JKAP President Bukhari said: “I welcome, if and when the talks take place. This justifies our position of March 2020 when we made it clear that dialogue was the only mechanism to restore democracy and the state. for Jammu and Kashmir. “

“Better late than never because the solution to all our problems is in New Delhi and nowhere else,” he added.

The Jammu and Kashmir units of the BJP and Congress are also likely to be part of these discussions, which are seen as part of efforts to strengthen normal political processes in Union territory.

Officials said the delimitation commission under Justice (retd) Ranjana Desai, which was set up immediately after the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill was passed in parliament, is likely speed up its work and submit its report. The commission was established in February 2020 and received a one-year extension in March of this year.

With the exception of Bukhari, other leaders served a period of detention following the August 2019 decision of the Center to repeal the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and to divide the former state into territories. of the Union of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

In the District Development Council elections last year, the PAGD edged out the BJP and its allies, including the JKAP, winning 110 out of 280 seats, with the National Conference getting stronger with 67 seats in the alliance. The BJP was the largest party with 75 seats.

With PTI entries

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