First delimitation, then elections: PM to J&K leaders after three-hour meet

Gupkar declaration
This is the first time the Centre is holding talks with leaders from the valley since it abrogated Article 370

The crucial Thursday meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and prominent leaders from Jammu and Kashmir ended with the Centre saying, “it’s committed to the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir”.

After the meeting which lasted almost four hours, Modi said the ongoing delimitation exercise in Jammu and Kashmir has to happen quickly so that polls can be held to install an elected government that gives strength to its development trajectory.

In a series of tweets, the PM said, “ 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&Ks development trajectory.”

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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, especially the youth who have to provide political leadership to J&K, and ensure their aspirations are duly fulfilled,” he said.

Also read: Centre’s call for dialogue: J&K parties tread with hope, and caution

Those invited for the meeting are Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand and GA Mir; Farooq and Omar Abdullah from the National Conference; Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti; Apni Party leader Altaf Bukhari; BJP’s Ravinder Raina, Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta; CPI(M)’s MY Tarigami; Bheem Singh from National Panthers Party and Sajad Lone from Peoples Conference.

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

This is the first time the Centre is holding talks with leaders from the valley since it abrogated Article 370 and divided the state into the two Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on August 5, 2019.

Ahead of the meeting, the Election Commission on Wednesday held a virtual meeting with the deputy commissioners of all districts in the Union territory to discuss the delimitation of the existing Assembly constituencies.

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