Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an all-party meeting with Jammu and Kashmir's political leadership, on Thursday said that his government is fully committed to the "democratic process" in the region and holding the Assembly elections is a priority, sources told news agency ANI.
During a three-and-a-half-hour long meeting with 14 leaders from the erstwhile state, PM Modi heard out suggestions and inputs from all participants. "PM said that we are fully committed to the democratic process in J&K. He stressed that holding assembly elections just like the successful conduct of DDC (District Development Council) elections is a priority," sources said.
PM Modi expressed happiness on the commitment to the Constitution & democracy espoused by participants. He said even one death in J&K is painful & it's our collective duty to protect youth. He stressed that we need to give opportunities to J&K youth & they'll give back lots to our country, reported ANI.
During the meeting, the development achieved by J&K was discussed in detail with the implementation of many pro-people initiatives. PM Modi expressed satisfaction with the acceleration of development in Jammu & Kashmir and said that it is creating new hope and aspirations among the people, the report said.
He said that there would be political differences but everyone should work in the national interest so that people of J&K benefit. He stressed that atmosphere of safety & security needs to be ensured for all in J&K. He said he wants to remove 'Dilli ki Duri' & 'Dil Ki Duri', the report added.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the government is "committed to ensure all round development of J&K". He took to Twitter after the meeting and said: " The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in parliament."
"Today’s meeting on Jammu and Kashmir was conducted in a very cordial environment. Everyone expressed their commitment to democracy and the constitution. It was stressed to strengthen the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir," he added.
Among the leaders who participated in the meeting were Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad, Tara Chand and GA Mir; National Conference's Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah; PDP's Mehbooba Mufti, J-K Apni Party's Altaf Bukhari; BJP's Ravinder Raina, Nirmal Singh, and Kavinder Gupta; CPI(M)'s M Y Tarigami; National Panthers Party's Prof Bheem Singh; and Peoples Conference's Sajad Gani Lone.
Home Minister Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and Home Secretary also attended the meeting.
This comes after almost two years of the erstwhile state lost its special status and was downgraded into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.