All party meeting begins in Srinagar minus PDP

Srinagar, July 12 (Calcutta Tube) The all-party meeting convened by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to find a way to tackle the crisis in the valley began here Monday afternoon with the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) staying away.

Ruling National Conference chief and union minister Farooq Abdullah, the father of the chief minister, is amongst those attending the meet that started at 3 p.m. State Congress chief Saif-ud-din Soz is also participating along with other leaders of the ruling National Conference (NC)-Congress alliance.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has 11 members, is attending too.

Besides the PDP, the Jammu Kashmir National Panthers’ Party (JKNPP) has also decided to stay away from the meeting. The PDP has 21 and JKNPP three members in the 87-member state legislative assembly.

The PDP spurned Omar Abdullah’s invitation despite being urged by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend.

The meeting is part of the chief minister’s effort to reach out to all mainstream political parties in order to work out a joint political strategy to end the present turmoil in the valley caused by violent protests after the deaths of 14 people in firing by security forces.

With the violence refusing to die down, Abdullah has come under increased pressure and criticism for not being able to handle the law and order situation firmly as also the lack of any political process to alienate the separatist elements who have been using the crisis to their advantage.

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