Government sought to downplay the meeting that former Kashmiri separatist leader and People’s Conference leader Sajjad Lone had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, saying no meaning should be read into it.
“No meaning should be read into Sajjad Lone’s meeting with the Prime Minister,” said Arun Jaitley, Minister for Finance and Information and Broadcasting.
To buttress his point, he told reporters that leaders of every political group in Kashmir have held meetings with the Centre.
Lone met the Prime Minister earlier in the day during which the two are believed to have discussed the possibility of his working with BJP after the upcoming Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Did the Chief Minister there or the PDP leaders never meet the Prime Minister? One has to meet up with leaders of political opponents in a democracy also. I find no meaning in this,” Jaitley said.
There is speculation that Lone might align with BJP after the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir starting November 25.
Lone maintained after the meeting that he had apprised the Prime Minister as a Kashmiri about the difficulties being faced by the people of the Valley due to the September floods.
Lone, who is reportedly had many meetings with top BJP leaders, has decided to revive People’s Conference founded by his father Abul Gani Lone, who was killed by Pakistan-based militants, and his party is contesting from 12 seats in Kupwara and Handwara.
BJP has lunched a “mission 44-plus” in J&K to form its own government in the state and if need be seek the support of some smaller parties in the Valley in achieving its goal.