Full statehood for J&K top agenda in meeting with Modi, says Azad


Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Ghulam Nabi Azad has hinted that restoration of “full statehood” will be “top of the agenda” in All Party Meeting convened by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with leadership of the occupied territory on June 24.

However, Azad, who has been invited for the meeting, was non-committal on whether he would demand restoration of special status to J&K.

The meeting is the first such exercise by the Indian government since the abrogation of Article 370 and splitting of J&K into two Union Territories in August 2019.

“Sabse unchi demand statehood ki hogi (Statehood will be the top demand). That will be top of the agenda. And it was promised on the floor of the House as well. Full-fledged statehood…not L-G’s statehood,” Azad told media.

Asked about Article 370, the Congress leader said he is in talks with party leaders from both Jammu and Kashmir, and it is too early to comment.

“I am consulting Congress leaders from both Jammu and Kashmir. After that, I will seek guidance from our party’s leadership — the Congress president and former prime minister Manmohan Singh — and those colleagues who were directly or indirectly involved in this….So it is too early to say.

Yes, I can say that full statehood will be top of the agenda,” Azad said. “We will formulate our stance… policy…after consultations and deliberations.”

Sources said the J&K Policy Planning Group of the Congress will meet today to give final shape to the party’s stand for the meeting.

Apart from Azad, the panel comprises Manmohan Singh, Karan Singh, P Chidambaram, AICC in-charge Rajni Patil, Tariq Hamid Karra and Ghulam Ahmed Mir.—INP

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