J&K: PM Modi calls all-party meet on June 24, to discuss delimitation and polls

By Team NewsableFirst Published Jun 19, 2021, 10:14 AM IST

The agenda of the meeting ahead includes delimitation and holding of elections and the installation of a government.

Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called an all-party meeting on Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, sources say amid reports that the Centre may discuss restoration of statehood and other important issues concerning the union territory. This is the PM's first major outreach to end the political impasse over the scrapping of Article 370 in 2019.

While the date could be still under discussion, official sources said the plan for the meeting is under consideration and has been tentatively scheduled. The meeting will be seen as a bid to move the political process in the UT after a gradual easing of restrictions on the internet and detention of political leaders. The agenda ahead includes delimitation and holding of elections and the installation of a government.

"We have been intimated about a meeting next week. We are waiting for a formal invitation," a senior Jammu and Kashmir leader said.

Home minister Amit Shah on Friday reviewed the situation in UT, sparking speculation about a possible political initiative. J&K LG Manoj Sinha attended the review held amid a steady decline in terrorist incidents, local recruitment and infiltration this year: gains which would not have looked possible until recently and which have enabled the administration to push the coverage of central schemes to 90% and vaccination coverage to 76% of the population aged 45 years and above.

Shah noted the improved security scenario and the expanded reach of central schemes, and stressed the need to speed up implementation of the PM’s development package and other industrial projects.

In another meeting, he also issued several directions which included expanding the coverage of MGNREGA, setting up an agri industry in every district, and strengthening of security and intelligence apparatus in the Union Territory.

Both meetings were attended by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla among other officials. The meeting on security was also attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and chiefs of IB, RAW, CRPF and J&K Police.

In August 2019, the centre cancelled Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and also bifurcated the state into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Top leaders in Jammu and Kashmir - including former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah - were arrested just before the Centre announced the mega decisions in parliament. They were released months later.

Sources in the J&K administration said the Delimitation Commission had written to Deputy Commissioners of all 20 districts last Tuesday seeking fresh information on several aspects including population density and topography in all the districts and Assembly constituencies. “Almost all districts have provided the information,” the source said.

The Centre is also expected to discuss assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, due since 2018, when then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti snapped ties with her coalition partner BJP.

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Last Updated Jun 19, 2021, 10:14 AM IST