Azad Meets PM To Discuss 3rd Round Table Conference
12 April 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad tonight called on Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at his residence in New Delhi and discussed with him the holding of third Round Table Conference in the State. After a two days whirlwind tour of Doda and newly created districts of Kishtwar and Ramban during which he addressed five public meetings, Mr Azad flew-in to New Delhi this evening on being called by the Prime Minister. Dr Singh and Mr Azad discussed timing, venue and other modalities for holding third Round Table Conference in the State. The meeting between the two lasted about one hour, authoritative sources told the Excelsior. Last two Round Table Conferences were held in April and May last year, which were attended by all mainstream political parties but was boycotted by both factions of Hurriyat Conference as well as majority of separatist leaders. It was after the second Round Table Conference, held on May 25 last year and chaired by the Prime Minister in Srinagar that five Working Groups on different subjects including good governance, strengthening of Centre-State relations, strengthening relations across the Line of Control, Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to improve condition of people affected by militancy and economic development of the State were set up. While four Working Groups have completed their deliberations and submitted their reports, the Group of Centre-State relations was likely to hold one or two more sittings to finalise its report. Reports of all five Working Groups are to be placed before the Prime Minister in third Round Table Conference, which is likely to be held again in the State like to previous Conferences. The third Round Table Conference is expected to be held within a month's time. Dates and venue for the meeting will be finalised shortly between the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister. In some recent rallies, Mr Azad had said that Round Table Conference had a representative character due to participation of maximum political parties and other organisations. He had also appealed Hurriyat Conference and separatists to join the Conference. At the end of second Round Table Conference in Srinagar, the Prime Minister had expressed readiness to discuss both autonomy and self rule, the demands raised by National Conference and People's Democratic Party (PDP) respectively. The Working Group on strengthening of Centre-State relations had in its agenda of discussion both autonomy and self rule.