Governor calls meeting of major political parties’ heads today

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, June 21: Governor NN Vohra has called an All Party Meeting (APM) tomorrow reportedly with a view to gather opinions of political parties on prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir and way to move forward in tackling militancy and violence and various other aspects of the situation.
Official sources told the Excelsior that only nine political leaders, mostly the heads of recognized national and regional political parties have been invited to the meeting, which will be held at the Raj Bhavan at 4.30 pm.
This will be Vohra’s first inter-action with representatives of major political parties after assuming powers of the State Government following imposition of Governor rule in Jammu and Kashmir yesterday after fall of Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition Government as the BJP walked out of the Alliance. The meeting comes just a week ahead of the start of annual Shri Amarnath Ji pilgrimage in South Kashmir Himalayas, which would last 60 days.
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“Only selected political leaders totaling nine have been invited to the meeting. They included heads of recognized national parties in Jammu and Kashmir and regional political parties’ chiefs in the State,” sources said.
National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah and PCC (I) chief GA Mir have confirmed their participation in tomorrow’s All Party Meeting. Mir told the Excelsior that it was “welcome decision” on part of the Governor to take political parties on board.
BJP State president Ravinder Raina was undecided on participation in the meeting tomorrow in view of BJP national president Amit Shah’s visit to Jammu on June 23. Raina told the Excelsior that if he was unavailable to attend the meeting, the BJP would be represented by party Lok Sabha member from Jammu-Poonch, Jugal Kishore Sharma.
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who happens to be the president of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has also been invited to the meeting, sources said.
Heads of regional political parties including CPM veteran MY Tarigami and NPP leader and former Minister Harshdev Singh were among the invitees. Tarigami, however, said that he was busy with crucial CPM national level meeting in New Delhi and won’t be able to attend the All Party meeting. “I have deputed my State Secretary Ghulam Nabi Malik to attend the meeting,” he added.
Sources said the Governor reportedly wants to take all major national and regional political parties in Jammu and Kashmir into confidence on the steps he might take to maintain peace and normalcy in the State especially the Kashmir valley and solicit their opinion on how to move ahead to keep the situation under control.
“No agenda has been fixed for the All Party Meeting as there was no written invitation to the political parties,” sources said, adding that the political heads were invited on telephone for the meeting.
According to sources, the All Party Meeting was aimed at building some kind of consensus on restoration of peace in the Valley for which involvement of all major national and regional political parties was a must.
Most of the political parties invited to tomorrow’s All Party Meeting by the Governor welcomed the move by Vohra saying it would help them understand his view point and steps he proposed to take to restore peace and normalcy by bringing level of terrorism and violence down.