Omar Abdullah

Set Timeline For Restoration Of Statehood To J-K: Omar Abdullah

Omar Abdullah

Amid the Centre’s claims that statehood will soon be restored to Jammu and Kashmir, former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said Union Home Minister Amit Shah should set a ‘timeline’ for the same.

Coming down heavily on the BJP-led NDA at the Centre over its landmark decision to revoke special constitutional privileges to the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state under Article 370 of the Constitution and split the region into two Union Territories (UTs)–Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the National Conference (NC) leader said his party wanted statehood restored before the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Upholding the Centre’s revocation of Article 370 from the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state, the Supreme Court, last year, directed the Election Commission (EC) to hold assembly polls in the state by September, this year.

Speaking to ANI on Thursday, the former Jammu and Kashmir CM said, “They (Centre) should not have taken it (Article 370) in the first place. We wanted statehood restored before the (Lok Sabha) elections. Union Home Minister Amit Shah should set a timeline within which to ensure the return of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court has already set September 30 (2024) as the deadline for the restoration of statehood. With respect to the deadline set by the country’s highest court, he should state clearly in how many days statehood would be restored.”

In a historic piece of legislation in 2019, the Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, reconstituting the erstwhile state into the Union Territories (UTs) of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The reorganisation took effect on October 31, 2019.

With the historic passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 by the Parliament, Article 370 ceased to exist.

However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on his last campaign-related visit to the UT, assured that the Centre was committed to restoring statehood to Jammu and Kashmir while adding that the assembly elections would be held soon.

Meanwhile, the NC leader voiced confidence in his party winning the Lok Sabha elections in the UT by a ‘huge margin’.

Omar, who will file his nomination from the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency on Thursday, is pitted against PDP’s Fayaz Ahmad Mir and Sajad Lone of the People’s Conference.

The NC holds the seat currently, with Mohammed Akbar Lone as its sitting MP.

Jammu and Kashmir has five Lok Sabha seats–Udhampur, Jammu, Anantnag-Rajouri, Srinagar and Baramulla. Earlier, the region comprised six Lok Sabha seats, including Ladakh. However, following the abrogation of Article 370, Ladakh ceased to be a Lok Sabha constituency.

In the 2019 elections, the BJP won three seats while the National Conference won the remaining three.

Voting in Udhampur and Jammu was conducted in the first two phases of the general elections–on April 19 and 26. Polling for the remaining seats will be held on May 7 (Anantnag-Rajouri), May 13 (Srinagar) and Baramulla (May 20). (ANI)

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