Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and former Union Minister and BJP leader Yashwant Sinha met on Sunday — their second meeting in a fortnight — to chalk out plans to bring together different groups working on Kashmir for a national conclave in the capital this month, which will attempt to seek a unified voice on resolving the Kashmir unrest and restoring peace.
Both Yadav and Sinha were part of separate delegations which met separatist leaders in the Valley last year.
Sources said leaders from all parties, including the ruling BJP, will be invited for the conclave, which is expected to be addressed by experts, activists and writers.
“Our attempt will be to make it an all-party kind of gathering. Opposition leaders will definitely be there. We will welcome all suggestions and hope some common voice emerges from the meeting to resolve the cycle of violence in the Valley. We are inviting all experts and members of different delegations which have visited Kashmir. We are also exploring the possibility of inviting some political leaders and experts from Kashmir,” said a source familiar with the planning of the entire exercise.
The meeting between Sinha and Yadav at the latter’s residence today was their second meeting in a fortnight. On April 25, Sinha met Yadav hours before the JD(U) leader called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, where they discussed the “urgency” of the Kashmir situation.
Yadav also called up former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today. On May 2, he met Singh and urged him to explore the possibility of working with different groups and committees involved with the Kashmir issue.
Singh has already held discussions with senior Congress leader from Jammu and Kashmir and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad. According to sources, the former Prime Minister is likely to meet Sonia in the next few days to discuss the Kashmir situation.
Singh heads a Congress policy planning group on Jammu and Kashmir. Sinha chaired an informal group that visited the Valley twice last year and submitted a report to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Yadav is keen that both groups should work together and rope in some other groups involved in similar activities.
The Congress group includes senior leaders Karan Singh, P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, Rigzin Zora, Tariq Hameed Karra and Shyam Lal Sharma.
When contacted, Yadav said a joint meeting of all such informal groups on Kashmir should be held in the capital because “as far as resolving the Kashmir issue is concerned, the lead has always come from Delhi”.
Yadav has also discussed the issue with CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, and spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti last month.
Meanwhile, among those who are likely to be invited to speak at the conclave are former R&AW chief A S Dulat, former interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir M M Ansari, former bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah, former Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak and activist Sushobha Barve. “All the names will be finalised soon. It will be a large gathering. We will hold the conclave this month,” said a source.
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