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PDP hopes Guv will call all-party meet on holding ULB polls

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Mehbooba bats for political solution to Kashmir issue

Srinagar, Sep 05: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wednesday said it was hopeful that Governor Satya Pal Malik will convene an all-party meeting on holding urban local body and Panchayat elections in the state.

"(When I was) in government, I had called an all-party meeting to discuss ULB/Panchayat elections and majority of the parties had opposed holding of elections at that time. We expected that the Governor too would have called an all party meet where everyone would put forward their view point," PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti was quoted as saying on party's official twitter handle.

The tweets came over an hour after the National Conference announced that it would not participate in these elections in view of the prevailing situation in the Valley caused by the legal challenge to Article 35-A of the Constitution.

"The core group (of NC) unanimously decided that the National Conference will not participate in these elections unless and until the government of India and the state government clarify their positions in this regard and take effective steps for protection of Article 35-A in and outside the courts," NC president Farooq Abdullah said after the meeting here.

However, in a second tweet, Mehbooba Mufti said, "We are still hopeful about that meet and would share our opinion with all the parties so that a consensus is built." she added.

Meanwhile, batting strongly for a political solution to the Kashmir issue, Mehbooba Mufti today said that her party would always pitch for dialogue between India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir problem.

"Jammu and Kashmir is in dire need of a political solution. We will always pitch for dialogue and reconciliation and want India and Pakistan to come on the table to resolve Kashmir (issue)," Mehbooba told a gathering in the border district of Poonch.

The former chief minister said safeguarding the state's special status was her party's top-most priority.

The PDP, while being part of the government in the state, didn't compromise on its core ideology, she claimed.

"Every person in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is aware of the fact that the PDP since its very inception has been pitching for dialogue and reconciliation for the resolution of Kashmir (issue) and stood in the forefront for protecting Article 370 (of the Constitution) from any assault," Mehbooba said.

She claimed that ahead of forming the coalition government with the BJP after the 2014 polls, the PDP signed the agenda of alliance in which it took it in writing from the BJP that Article 370 and the state's unique position would not be fiddled with and that dialogue with all stakeholders, including the Hurriyat, would be initiated by the Government of India.

"Even when the PDP was the part of the government, it didn't allow any tinkering with the state's special status and engaged the country's top lawyers to defend Article 35-A (of the Constitution) in the Supreme Court," the PDP chief said.

Article 35-A of the Constitution accords a slew of rights and privileges to the "permanent residents" of the state. Article 370 of the Constitution gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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