Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad
PTI Photo

The Centre has extended an invitation to the top political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir for a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, June 24. Reportedly, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla had reached out to all 14 political leaders of the erstwhile state for the meeting and asked them to present a COVID-19 negative report.

Political leaders including four former chief ministers, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Ghulam Nabi Azad are among the invitees to the PM's all party meeting. Others include, Sajad Lone of the Peoples Conference, Syed Altaf Bukhari of JK Apni Party, Professor Bhim Singh of J&K Panthers Party and others belonging to the BJP and the Congress in the UT.

Reportedly, three central ministers, Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and MoS (PMO) Jitendra Singh, are also expected to attend the meeting, which be held at the Lok Kalyan Marg residence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir will be the top demand: Ghulam Nabi Azad

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday told the Indian Express that full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir will be their top demand in the meeting. "Sabse unchi demand statehood ki hogi (Statehood will be the top demand). That will be top of the agenda. And it was promised on the floor of the House as well. Full-fledged statehood…not L-G’s statehood," he said. He said it is too early to comment regarding the restoration of Article 370.

Azad further said that he is consulting Congress leaders from both Jammu and Kashmir. He said he will also seek guidance from the party’s president, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and other colleagues. "We will formulate our stance… policy…after consultations and deliberations," he added.

All J&K Gupkar alliance leaders to attend PM's all party meet:

Mainstream political leaders who are part of the Peoples alliance for Gupkar declaration (PAGD), said on Tuesday that they will be attending the all party meeting called by PM Modi on June 24. The announcement was made by Dr Abdullah after the PAGD meeting, which was held at the Gupkar Road residence of the NC patron.

"Since all of us are part of our political parties and we have received individual invitations, it has, therefore, been decided today that all of us will go and attend the Prime Minister's meeting", Dr Abdullah said. He added that there is no fixed agenda for the meeting and all of us are free to voice our demands and feelings.

M.Y. Tarigami, the CPI-M leader, who has also been invited to PM's meeting told the media, "We will not ask for the stars. We will only appeal to the Prime Minister to restore to us what is guaranteed by the Constitution".

Muzaffar Shah, leader of Awami National Conference, said there is no change in the PAGD demand for restoration of statehood and the special status to J&K and this demand is non-negotiable.

Mehbooba Mufti said since the PAGD has decided that the invitation by the Prime Minister is on individual basis, she would also attend the meeting personally.

(With IANS inputs)

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