New Delhi: After the presidential election, Kashmir is the next big issue on which the Opposition is trying to evolve a common stand, hoping to corner the government. Many Opposition parties, including the Congress, are holding parleys among themselves to chalk out a strategy, in view of the government's failure to find a way out in Kashmir, which has seen a spurt in violence recently. Former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Tuesday and pressed him to open a dialogue with the Kashmiri people.
Sources said the parties feel the government could be cornered for having mishandled the situation in Kashmir as the situation there was "very alarming". Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, who is leading this initiative, told this newspaper: "Any solution to the violence there can only come from Delhi. The situation is very alarming. In the three years since the BJP government came to power, the situation has deteriorated so much that they are not able to hold a byelection."
Mr Yadav, who was part of an all-party team that visited J&K in 2016, said he held a wide range of discussions with all parties and many civil society activists to find a way out so that the people of Kashmir could be told there was an alternative viewpoint to that of the government. He said he had talked about this with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who told him a Congress cell headed by former PM Manmohan Singh was already working on it.
Subsequently, Mr Yadav met Dr Singh and others in the Congress cell, including P. Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Karan Singh. He had also met CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI leader D. Raja.
"I also met senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha twice. We are exploring options on how to take on the government over the issue.”
Adopt political approach for Kashmir problem, Farooq urges PM
NC leader Farooq Abdullah, who has been recently elected from Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to adopt a political approach to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir situation and not consider it solely a law and order issue. Abdullah, who is also a former Union minister and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, met the prime minister for over 30 minutes during which wide ranging issues pertaining to the situation in the valley were discussed. "Farooq Abdullah sought a political approach from New Delhi to deal with the Kashmir Valley and to not deal with it solely through operational and law-and-order mechanisms," a National Conference spokesman said. The spokesman said Abdullah, president of the National Conference, apprised the prime minister about several measures that need to be initiated in the valley at the earliest. "Treating the issue merely as a law and order problem will continue to compound the already grave situation," the spokesman said. This is the first meeting Abdullah had with Modi after being elected to Parliament. He had defeated PDP-BJP alliance candidate Nazir Ahmed by over 10,000 votes from the seat which had fallen vacant after Tariq Karra had resigned from the ruling PDP. Abdullah urged the prime minister to take urgent steps to address the Kashmir issue politically.