Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is on a two-day visit to Srinagar, demanded restoration of full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.
On a two-day Kashmir visit, Rahul Gandhi said the Congress workers should lead a campaign for restoration of full statehood. He also said “free and fair election” should be held in Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing party workers in Srinagar on Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi said: “We demand the restoration of full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir and free and fair elections here”.
In August 2019, the Narendra Modi government had converted Jammu and Kashmir into a Union Territory bifurcating the erstwhile state through a state reorganisation bill passed by Parliament. The other unit was carved out as the Union Territory of Ladakh.
Rahul Gandhi inaugurated the Congress party’s headquarters in Jammu and Kashmir on the tour before addressing the party functionaries and workers in Srinagar.
This is Rahul Gandhi’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir since it was stripped off statehood. On August 5, 2019, the central government had ceased the operation of Articles 370 and 35(A) of the Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir, thereby revoking its special status.
The Congress had opposed the Centre’s move calling it unconstitutional for the manner in which the changes were made in the political nature of Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier in June, senior Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad attended a called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The deliberations were centred on the future course of action for the Union Territory.
During this meet, Azad had raised the issue of restoration of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest.
“Statehood should be restored at the earliest. We said [in the meeting] that the prime minister and the home minister had made a promise that the government would restore statehood. We said the favourable situation exists at present,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said.