Srinagar: Claiming that Congress was the only party that presented a futuristic roadmap for J&K during the All Party Meeting (APM) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, J&K Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) president G A Mir on Sunday said that the centre should follow-up on the positive outcome of the meeting for early restoration of democracy in the erstwhile state.
Mr Mir, who was among 14 mainstream political leaders from eight political parties from Jammu and Kashmir who attended the meeting at New Delhi on Thursday, asserted that the Home Minister has assured that full statehood and democracy will be restored in J&K soon.
“We demanded that the process of delimitation should be done in a time-bound and fair manner. Second step should be restoration of full Statehood with constitutional guarantee and third step should be holding Assembly election. We (Congress) told them that if you issue a calendar with delimitation as the first step, followed by statehood and election, we have no issues,” Mr Mir told reporters during a press conference here on Sunday after returning from Jammu, where he briefed the party leaders about the development in the APM.
The JKPCC chief claimed that Congress was the only party which had gone to the meeting fully prepared. “We have had a detailed discussion with all the layers of the party. So, we were able to put forward our point more clearly. We presented a futuristic roadmap for J&K in the meeting,” he said.
“The other side also owned the most of our agenda. Now, we need to see how much will be implement it…. The ball is in the court of Government of India to follow the positive outcome of the meeting. Tomorrow they can’t say that we invited you and you didn’t come. We went to the meeting and put forth the views of the people of J&K in front of the PM,” Mr Mir said.
He said after the roadmap given by Congress, the Home Minister asserted that the centre is committed to give back statehood to J&K. “The Home Minister said that he has made this assurance on the floor of the house and won’t backtrack… Amit Shah asserted that the centre is also committed to restore democracy and hold elections in J&K,” he told reporters.
“However, Mr Shah informed the leaders during the APM that before holding assurance, the centre has to complete the process of delimitation. We had raises issues on this point as well… We asked them that why was the delimitation process deferred for elections in Assam and not here. So they told us that in Assam, the delimitation was only to reorganize while in J&K seven seats will be added to the Assembly,” he added.
Mr Mir said that the Home Minister told the attendees of the meeting that addition of seven seats in the J&K assembly will benefit SC, ST and other minorities. “So, when this information was put forth by the Home Minister, we as Congress party members accepted it. As it is already a pressing demand. So we told them that if delimitation is done in a time-bound and transparent manner we are with them,” he said.
“No one has seen what the delimitation commission is doing. The MH assured that the commission will consult all the stakeholders, evening at Tahsil level. We were assured that the demography would not be changed as there is a set protocol which is being followed,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting of 14 leaders from eight political parties in J&K on Thursday to discuss the future course of action for the Union Territory. This was the first such initiative by the Centre since the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state of J&K on August 5, 2019.
The Centre had invited four former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Mehbooba Mufti, besides four Deputy Chief Ministers – Muzafar Hussain Beigh, Tara Chand, Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta. Leaders of six other political parties — Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami of CPI(M), Sajad Gani Lone of Peoples Conference, Mohammad Altaf Bukhari of Apni Party, Prof Bhim Singh of Panthers Party, Ravinder Raina of BJP and G A Mir of Congress – were also invited at the meeting.