NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said the delimitation exercise and holding of peaceful elections in Jammu and Kashmir are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in Parliament.
The home minister's comments came after a three-and-half-hour-long meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with 14 political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers. "We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K. 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," Shah said in a tweet.
He said Thursday's meeting on Jammu and Kashmir was held 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," Shah said in another tweet.
The four former chief ministers of the erstwhile state who participated in the discussions were Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Congress' Ghulam Nabi Azad and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti.
Four former deputy chief ministers were in attendance too - Congress' Tara Chand, People's Conference leader Muzaffar Hussain Baig and BJP's Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta.
CPM leader Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami, Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) chief Altaf Bukhari, Sajjad Lone of the People's Conference, J-K Congress head G A Mir, BJP's Ravinder Raina and Panthers Party leader Bhim Singh also formed part of the delegation.
This is the first interaction between the central leadership and mainstream parties since August 5, 2019, when the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.