Congress demands restoration of full Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir ahead of PM Modi's June 24 meeting

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, however, did not say whether the party will participate in the June 24 meeting or not.

June 20, 2021 04:09 pm | Updated 06:21 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. File

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala. File

The Congress on Sunday asked the Narendra Modi government to restore the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in the interest of democracy and upholding constitutional principles.

The demand comes days before the Prime Minister’s proposed meeting with political leaders from J&K on June 24. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is learnt to have invited 14 leaders including four former Chief Ministers from J&K to discuss the political situation.

It will be the first meeting between Mr. Modi and leaders from the region after the Centre diluted J&K’s special status under Article 370 in August, 2019.

“It is now for the Prime Minister and the BJP to decide whether to hold a meeting or to accept the demand of the Indian National Congress in the interest of the Constitution, democracy and the people to restore full statehood to the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr. Surjewala told reporters at a virtual press conference.

He did not say whether or not the party will participate in the June 24 meeting.

He recalled that on August 6, 2019, a day after the Centre’s decision on Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) had adopted a resolution that clearly demanded restoration of full statehood.

“We believe that undoing it [statehood] is a direct attack on democracy and the constitutional principles.”

He also said elections to the Assembly should be held so that people can elect their representatives instead of being ruled by Delhi.

While the political affairs committee (PAC) of the PDP has authorised its chief Mehbooba Mufti to take a call, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) — an umbrella of mainstream parties in J&K — will meet on Tuesday to decide on the June 24 meeting.

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