SRINAGAR: The All-Party Meeting (APM) to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday has given relevance to the six-party Gupkar Alliance, which was being termed as ‘Gupkar Gang’ by the BJP till now. Also, the Centre may offer some concessions, including release of prisoners, at the Delhi meeting as a confidence building measure, political observers opined.
Political commentator Noor Mohammad Baba said the APM has once again given relevance to Gupkar alliance and other regional leaders. After discrediting them following abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, the Centre is now doing business with them, he said. Three of the four ex-CMs invited for the talks, including Farooq and Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were detained and booked under Public Safety Act. Another invitee, Sajjad Lone, was also among the mainstream leaders detained.
According to Baba, the APM is also the Centre’s admission that it has not been able to shape up the situation in Kashmir the way it wanted after Article 370 revocation. “The invitation to Gupkar alliance leaders is an admission of failure to dislodge or sideline them and create an alternate leadership,” he said. Another political commentator echoed the same views. “Although the Centre wanted to create an alternate leadership through DDC polls, that attempt failed and they had to reach out to the mainstream leaders for reviving the political process,” he said.
He added that with the Gupkar alliance set to demand Article 370 restoration at the APM, other leaders from Kashmir will be forced to support that as they have to compete with each other on the ground. Some of these leaders, including Altaf Bukhari, had advocated moving beyond Article 370.
Baba said that the Centre may offer some concession at the APM. “It could be statehood, modification of provisions of domicile law, release of prisoners etc.” Without something substantial to offer, the Centre would not have convened the meeting, he added.