Pranab Likely to Lead All-party Team to Kashmir

New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to lead the all-party delegation that will visit Jammu and Kashmir Monday-Tuesday, Congress sources said after a meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi.

Home Minister P. Chidmabaram will be also in the team, an office-bearer of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) told IANS.

This was decided at a meeting of the Congress core committee on Kashmir chaired by Sonia Gandhi Friday. She reviewed the Kashmir situation and the Congress' approach to the all-party team's visit with senior ministers, including Mukherjee, Chidambaram and Defence Minister A.K. Antony.

Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan and Saifuddin Soz, who heads Kashmir's Congress unit, also attended the meeting.

The Bharatiya Janata Party will be represented by its general secretary, Arun Jaitley. Senior leader L.K. Advani or party president Nitin Gadkari may be the second member.

The parliamentary affairs ministry will also be asking all political parties and groups represented in parliament to propose one member each for the all-party delegation, an official said.

The delegation will visit the violence-hit Kashmir region Monday and the Jammu region Tuesday, as per the schedule being prepared by the home ministry, a senior official told IANS. The idea is to get a first hand impression of the situation on the ground before taking steps to defuse the volatile situation.

The visit is being facilitated by the home ministry and the Jammu and Kashmir government.

The decision to send the delegation to Jammu and Kashmir was taken at an all-party meeting here Wednesday. Leaders of 39 political parties and groups attended the meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Kashmir Valley has been rocked by a cycle of violence, with retaliatory firing by the security forces on stone-pelting mobs resulting in the death of 92 civilians, mosty teenagers and youth, since June 11.


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Title: Pranab Likely to Lead All-party Team to Kashmir

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