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J&K: PM calls all party conference

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
February 15, 2006 11:20 IST
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Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh has called for a round table conference on Jammu and Kashmir on Feburary 24 in New Delhi where all the political groups of the state and the national parties would be invited to express their opinion.
"This is true that prime minister has called for a meet on Feburary 24 and we would be issuing a press release later in the day." Dr Sanjay Baru, media advisor to the prime minister, told on Wednesday.

Omar Abdullah, president of the National Conference, welcomed the move. "I have not received any invitation as yet from the office of the prime minister. I have always been asking for widening the process of dialouge. I am glad that he has decided to do so. It would be a great experience," he said.

But Omar has a problem. While some of the leaders like Sajjad Lone and Yasin Malik of the people's conference and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front did get to meet Prime Minister Dr Singh and held one to one discussions, the other party leaders from the valley are being denied this opportunity.

"I heard someone saying that PM has called for a mahapanchayat. And it looks like one," he quipped.

The meeting according to the experts has been called to counter the charge that the government was not doing enough to know the minds of the people and political parties. Interestingly the meeting comes week before US president George Bush is slated to visit India in the first week of March.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi