JAMMU: Notwithstanding rumours about Prime Minister Narendra Modi convening All Party Meet on Jammu and Kashmir making rounds for quite some days, it may be sheer coincidence that the formal invite to 14 leaders, including four former Chief Minister and equal number of the ex-Deputy Chief Ministers was extended by the Union Home Secretary on June 19, exactly two years after the then State was put under Governor’s Rule-on 19 June 2019.What prompted the Prime Minister to hold such a meeting when the nation is battling the delta wave of corona virus that created an unprecedented situation, making the nation hugely dependent on international support in respect of oxygen and other logistical support? The virus, though flattened, is not yet over and all the pandemic related protocols are being observed in letter and spirit. The PM has been holding all the meetings with global leaders, chief ministers of states and others through virtual mode. However, a departure has been made this time around as Narendra Modi will be meeting the J&K leaders in person at his Lok Nayak Marg official residence. This speaks of the importance being attached to the conference.Is this an act of desperation or a well-considered reach out exercise to break the ice? It is both. The promises held out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019 at the floor of Parliament while revoking the provisions of Article 370 and Article 35A and bifurcating the state into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh are yet to be translated into reality on ground. On the contrary, the expectations of the people in normal governance stand betrayed. Even those, who had supported the political moves, are disappointed with the state affairs. They are nurturing a feeling of loss of the state getting condensed to a UT with a real time threat to the jobs and lands of the locals. This happened primarily due to a communication gap. The Centre could not communicate with the people through the BJP leaders of Jammu whose sense of understanding has always remained a suspect. Their role in the coalition ministry had exposed their administrative naivety, political bankruptcy and urge to make hay when the sun is shining. They have no credibility in their core constituency, which in the process has put a question mark over the political sagacity of the Chanakya of the Indian politics Amit Shah and track-two diplomacy of NSA Ajit Doval.The disillusionment of the people during the past two years has caused anxiety in New Delhi. The situation in the sensitive border UT cannot be allowed to slip out of hands. There has to be some course correction, which is why the Modi-Shah duo finally cast their whip and decided to hold the meet. Back channel preparations were made by roping in former chief ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad and Farooq Abdullah. The latter’s indication at the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration that ‘all options are open’ and ‘prepared to engage in dialogue’ could be seen in this regard..With the invite formally extended and the D-day just a day away, the Kashmir mainstream has already initiated preliminary discussions to frame up their response. After days of speculations, the alliance has announced that Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Mohammed Yousf Tarigami would be joining the meeting. Much should not be expected from the meet though there will be serious attempts to break the ice. Already leaders have started to play to the gallery. Soon after the announcement about her joining Mehbooba has sought dialogue with Pakistan as well, though the regional leaders have no locus standi to poke their noses in an issue that is the prerogative of the Ministry of External Affairs. Anyway that is politics. The fact is that the meeting is all set to take place and obviously the Kashmir mainstream in particular would be expecting the conduct of elections as soon as possible, which however, they don’t speak in public. But, the fact remains that till the time the Delimitation Process will be finalised, of course, in a spirit of consensus, no elections are like to take place very soon. There are other options as well. If sources are to be believed some sort of political arrangement is likely to be to put in place to suggest ways and means to restore normalcy and accelerate the political process in Jammu and Kashmir.If sources are to be believed, the panel will comprise the senior leaders of the premier political parties including Pradesh Congress President G A Mir, Provincial Presidents National Conference Devender Singh Rana and Nasir Aslam Wani, PDP leader and uncle of Mehbooba Mufti, Sartaj Madni, who has been released from detention yesterday, JKAP leader Altaf Bukhari, JKNPP leader Harsh Dev Singh and CPI leader Mohammed Yousf Tarigami. Though the Jammu BJP leaders are not in the good frame of the high command, yet Sunil Sharma will represent the BJP in the panel.
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