The five-party People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Monday expressed disappointment at the outcome of the all-party meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi two weeks ago and demanded that the Union government restore the Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood before calling fresh elections.
PAGD also criticised the lack of “confidence-building measures” (CBM) by the Centre in its first reaction since the June 24 meeting in Delhi, where the Union government appeared to favour holding elections before granting statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.
The crucial meeting was the first outreach by the Union government since it controversially scrapped the region’s special status on August 5, 2019, bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union Territories (UT).
“All the members of PAGD expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the Delhi meeting, especially with the lack in CBMs, such as releasing political and other prisoners from jails and taking steps to end the atmosphere of suppression. This would have initiated the much-needed process of reaching out to the people of J&K who are the biggest stakeholders,” said PAGD spokesperson Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami in a statement.
“Any assembly election must be held only after the restoration of full statehood for J&K. To this end, the PAGD has decided to reach out to other political parties in J&K with a view to taking a common position on the issue,” he added.
Bharatiya Janata Party state spokesperson Altaf Thakur said the PAGD has been changing its stand to keep itself relevant in public.
“Earlier, they said that unless Article 370 is restored, they won’t contest any election but they still contested the DDC polls. So this is also a ploy to keep themselves relevant after they realized that Article 370 isn’t coming back. They are now crying for statehood that has already been promised by Home Minister Amit Shah on the floor of Parliament.”
The PAGD was founded in 2020 aimed at restoring the special status along with Article 35A of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir – said that it will fight the Centre’s August 5, 2019 decision using all constitutional, legal, and political means.