No timeline for restoration of Statehood to J&K: Centre

‘Will be granted at appropriate time, conduct of elections prerogative of ECI’

Srinagar: Government of India on Wednesday said that statehood to Jammu and Kashmir would be “granted” at an “appropriate time” even as it put the ball regarding elections in J&K and Ladakh in the Election Commission of India’s court.

“Statehood to Jammu and Kashmir would be granted at an appropriate time,” Minister of State in Ministry of Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said while replying to written questions in the Rajya Sabha by parliamentarian Vivek K. Tankha who wanted to know whether there was a timeline to grant statehood to the “Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh”. No word has been stated regarding Ladakh.

To another question whether there is a timeline to hold the state elections in the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, Rai, said that “the decision to schedule elections is the prerogative of the Election Commission of India.”

The reply comes days after Delimitation Commission headed by Justice (Retired) Ranjana Prakash Desai called meeting with Associate Members, three of them from National Conference, in New Delhi on December 20 to discuss and possibly share the progress achieved by the panel.

The Commission has five Associate Members who have been invited to the meeting through emails sent to them.

They are Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi, all three National Conference Lok sabha members from Kashmir and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Dr Jitendra Singh and Jugal Kishore Sharma, MP Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha constituency, both from BJP.

This is second meeting called by the Commission with five Associate Members. First meeting on February 18 this year was attended only by two BJP MPs and was boycotted by all three National Conference members on the ground that the Commission has been set up under Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act which the party had challenged in the Supreme Court.

However, since then there have been clear indications that the National Conference is likely to attend the Delimitation Commission meeting now.

Recently Home Minister of India Amit Shah said that first delimitation will take place, then elections will be held and then the process to restore statehood will begin.

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