Series Of Political Initiatives for J&K On Anvil

North Block

New Delhi: The Centre is planning a series of political initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir which may include discussion with mainstream parties of the Union Territory and elections to the assembly in the early part of next year, officials said here on Friday.

The delimitation commission, which was set up immediately after passage of Jammu and Kashmir reorganisation bill by Parliament under the chairmanship of Justice (retd) Ranjana Desai, is likely to expedite its work and submit its report.

The commission was set in February 2020 and has been given an extension of one year in March.

The central leadership may even invite the National Conference headed by Farooq Abdullah, PDP chairperson Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari and People's Conference's Sajjad Lone for discussion in the coming weeks.

The possibility of Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairing the meeting is not ruled out, the officials said.

The state units of the BJP and the Congress are also likely to be part of these discussions which are seen among a slew of measures to restore democracy in the Union Territory that was formed by bifurcating Ladakh on August 5, 2019 when the Centre abrogated special status of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir.

Barring Bukhari, other leaders have also served a spell of detention following the August 2019 decision.

The NC and six other parties including its arch rival PDP and People's Conference had joined hands last year ahead of the District Development Commission polls and the alliance surged way ahead of BJP and its allies including JKAP by bagging 110 seats out of 280. The BJP was the single largest party with 75 seats and the NC won 67 seats within the alliance.

The political mainstream of the union territory, especially those having a strong base in the valley, has been critical of successive administrations of the union territory for neglecting the demands of the people and raising questions on the development slogan raised post August 2019.

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