The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Central Government has decided to appoint Arun Jaitley to discuss "devolution of powers" with regard to Jammu & Kashmir with the state government and other groups. This is a meaningless step as the BJP-led government adamantly refuses to discuss the provision of autonomy to the state of Jammu & Kashmir within the ambit of Article 370 of the Constitution. There can be no genuine political solution to the problem in Kashmir unless the issue of autonomy is taken up seriously.
The Vajpayee government has announced this step as a manouevre to meet the demand of the Farooq Abdullah government which itself has betrayed its stance on autonomy by joining hands with the BJP at the Centre. Given the proximity of the assembly elections, the National Conference wants to flaunt this deception as a step forward, while the BJP-led government continues to deny the basic demand for autonomy for the state. No one in Jammu & Kashmir will take this move seriously.
Like the earlier steps announced such as the K.C. Pant mission, the Jaitley mission will also be a futile exercise. A meaningful political dialogue based on the provision of maximum autonomy fulfilling the commitment made in Article 370 can be the only way forward.