J&K to get statehood 'at right time,' says PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired an all-party meeting to discuss the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir. During the three-hour meeting—the first outreach since the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019—Modi expressed his commitment to restoring J&K's statehood. The erstwhile state of J&K was split into two federally-controlled union territories in August 2019 and the region's special status was repealed.
Modi chaired a meeting with 14 prominent J&K leaders from eight political parties, including four Chief Ministers. Modi tweeted, "Today's meeting with political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir is an important step in the ongoing efforts toward a developed and progressive J&K, where all-round growth is furthered." "Our priority is to strengthen grassroots democracy in J&K," he wrote in another tweet.
Modi further tweeted, "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&K's development trajectory." "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 added.
Modi said during the meeting that J&K's statehood will be restored "at an appropriate time," sources told NDTV. He asked parties to get on board with delimitation (the redrawing of Assembly constituencies) to enable elections. It was said during the meeting that elections can happen soon after delimitation. Sources said the "most participants expressed willingness for it."
"The main focus of the meeting was to strengthen the democratic process," the government sources said. "He (Modi) stressed that the holding assembly elections just like the successful conduct of District Development Council elections is a priority." Modi "patiently heard suggestions and inputs from all participants," sources told NDTV, "It was an open discussion which revolved around building a better future for Kashmir."
It was also decided during the meeting that J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha would set up a committee to review cases of political prisoners (those released and those still detained). Mufti said after the meeting, "We will struggle for 370, be it months or years. We didn't get this (special status) from Pakistan, but from India, Nehru. There can be no compromise on this."
However, former CM Omar Abdullah told reporters that "almost all leaders" were unhappy with delimitation only in Jammu and Kashmir. "In other states, delimitation will be taken up in 2026, why has Jammu and Kashmir been singled out? We told the PM delimitation is not needed," Abdullah said, adding that "trust has broken between the Centre and Kashmir."