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J&K election process after delimitation: PM

New Delhi, June 24 (UNI): The election process in Jammu and Kashmir will start after the ongoing delimitation process is completed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday told a meeting that he held with leaders of mainstream political parties, most of whom raised the demand for restoration of statehood of the Union Territory.

The meeting, which lasted for over three hours at the residence of the Prime Minister here, saw the issue of revocation of Article 370 being aired by leaders like PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti and some others.

The Prime Minister told the leaders from Jammu and Kashmir that ‘Dilli ki Duuri’ (distance with Delhi) should not become ‘Dil ki Duuri’ (distance of hearts), according to government sources.

This was the first meeting of the Prime Minister with mainstream political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir since Article 370 was revoked in August 2019 and the state was downgraded to the status of Union Territory besides being bifurcated, with Ladakh being separated.

After the marathon meeting, Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted, “Today’s meeting on Jammu and Kashmir was conducted in a very cordial environment. Everyone expressed their commitment to democracy and the constitution. It was stressed to strengthen the democratic process in Jammu and Kashmir.”

He added, “We are committed to ensure all round development of J&K. The future of Jammu and Kashmir was discussed and the delimitation exercise and peaceful elections are important milestones in restoring statehood as promised in parliament.”

Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “Almost 80% of parties spoke on Article 370 but the matter is sub-judice. Our demands included full-fledged statehood soon, elections to restore democracy, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, release of all political detainees and guarantee of land and employment.”

Former Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig said most of the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir demanded restoration of statehood during the “cordial” meeting.

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