In a bid to defuse tension, Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Monday spoke to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah after Jammu and Kashmir authorities stopped BJP leaders at Jammu airport ahead of a planned hoisting of tricolour in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk on Republic Day.

Mr. Chidambaram phoned Mr. Omar Abdullah and took stock of the situation arising out of the arrival of Mr. Jaitley and party colleagues Sushma Swaraj and Ananth Kumar at the Jammu airport and the decision of local authorities not to allow them to enter the city, sources said.

The Chief Minister told the Home Minister that the two top BJP leaders would not be allowed to attend a public rally in Jammu as part of the BJP’s controversial Ekta Yatra.

Following Mr. Chidambaram’s request, Mr. Omar Abdullah agreed to send State Chief Secretary S.S. Kapoor and DGP Kuldip Khoda to talk to Mr. Jaitley and Ms. Swaraj and persuade them to abandon their plan.

In his conversation with Mr. Jaitley, Mr. Chidambaram requested him to respect the wishes of the Chief Minister and return to Delhi to defuse tension in the State, they said.

Efforts are also being made to allow Mr. Jaitley and Ms. Swaraj to speak to a small group of people and a few journalists before their return to the national capital, the sources said.