A Congress delegation led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be heading to Jammu and Kashmir next month. The agenda of visit will be to discuss prevailing political situation and bring like-minded voices on the table.
Joining the delegation would be Jammu and Kashmir party in-charge, Ambika Soni and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Members of the group will first travel to Jammu on September 10 and then to Srinagar on September 16.
Speaking to India Today over phone, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, JKPCC president said, “The agenda of delegation is to bring like-minded voices on board and hence the Congress will approach other parties in the opposition. On schedule also will be interactions with delegations of different non-political sectors and one hour will be deployed for the same in Jammu and Srinagar.”
Elections are scheduled in the state in 2021 while the by-polls of crucial constituency is still pending. The visit is being seen in the background of polls and as a likely initiation of opposition strategy to step up attack on PDP-BJP government in the state.
Raising questions on Congress’ political visit is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state. BJP spokesperson, Khalid Jehangir said, “The whole problem caused in J&K is to be blamed on the Congress Party since 1947. From an armed rebellion leading to terror to exodus of Kashmiri Hindus and mismanagement in previous government regimes. Now, their leaders are arriving only to politicize an already sensitive situation in the state and gain media attention to hoodwink people in J-K and rest of India.”
Meanwhile, residents of Jammu and Kashmir view such visits with apprehension and cynicism especially with regard to its conclusion. Several delegations have visited the valley in past few years including one by former journalists recently as a self-appointed citizen initiative. The interlocutor report in made public in 2011 was much hyped but eventually neither discussed in Parliament nor taken further into consideration by successive governments.