Mehbooba Mufti dithers on joining PM meet, but Gupkar ‘keen’


(This story originally appeared in on Jun 21, 2021)

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti remained undecided on her participation in PM Narendra Modi’s June 24 all-party meeting on J&K even as the Union Territory administration on Sunday released her maternal uncle Sartaj Madni and aide Naem Akhtar from detention.

Mehbooba is said to be reluctant to commit herself to the meeting despite her party’s political affairs committee signalling that it wants her to be part of it. The National Conference-led People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, of which PDP is a part, is assembling on Monday morning to take a call on the Union home ministry’s invitation.

Mehbooba’s indecision stems from the agenda for the meeting, a PDP official said. “Delimitation and elections in J&K are not our priorities right now. Before convening a dialogue on these topics, the Centre should have taken some confidence-building measures. A final decision on whether PDP will be part of the discussions will be taken after the Gupkar alliance meets,” he said.

Unofficially, the constituents of the five-party Gupkar alliance — including the Left — are said to be keen on joining the meeting. “We basically have no option but to meet the PM for the first political discourse since the special status of J&K was nullified on August 5, 2019,” a top functionary of the alliance said on Sunday.

The Union home ministry has formally invited 14 political functionaries from J&K to the meeting with the PM. The list includes Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, both former CMs, besides Mehbooba, CPM state secretary Younus Tarigami and Apni Party chief Altaf Bukhari.

The J&K delimitation commission headed by a retired high court judge already includes Farooq and two senior NC colleagues.


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