he latest and maiden political development since August 5, 2019 move was the centre’s invitation to the mainstream political parties for an All-Party Meeting with Prime Minister Modi. Thursday was the big day after a long time for the mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir. The outcome of the meeting made it clear that the leaders have been able to put across their point largely for the restoration of statehood. The all-party meeting signals the restarting of political engagement between mainstream Kashmiri parties and the Centre, which in August 2019 voided Articles 370 and 35A that bestowed special status to Jammu and Kashmir and privileges to its residents, and split the state into two Union territories. The meeting, though first between the leaders from Jammu and Kashmir and the Centre since the August 2019 developments, drew some lukewarm reactions in the Valley, as the past experiences of people in Kashmir prompt them to doubt the political leaders.
We heard that the developmental work with the implementation of many pro-people initiatives, carried out over the last two years in Jammu and Kashmir, was discussed in detail in the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s residence. During a three-and-a-half-hour-long meeting with 14 leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, PM Modi patiently heard out suggestions and inputs from all participants and assured them that the centre is fully committed to the democratic process in J&K. Common Kashmiris have expectations from such meetings, even the Union minister said that the meeting was conducted in a very cordial environment. He said that delimitation exercise and peaceful elections were important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in Parliament. According to HM everyone expressed their commitment to democracy and the constitution. It was stressed to strengthen the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir. Let’s hope the meeting remains successful in achieving its aim.