Home Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday told parliament the government will have no objection in holding elections in Jammu and Kashmir along with general elections slated later this year if the Election Commission so desired.

Replying to the debate on the statutory resolution on the imposition of President’s rule in the state, Singh said the Centre would provide whatever security forces the Election Commission wanted for holding elections in Jammu and Kashmir, PTI reported. The resolution was passed by a voice vote.

Dismissing perceptions that the government is not willing to talk to separatists in Kashmir, Home Minister Rajnath Singh reminded Rajya Sabha that when the all-party delegation went to meet them in 2016, they shut their doors. Singh added it is because of such perception that things (in the valley) are not moving ahead.

“Ek dhaarna bani hui thi ki BJP ke log Hurriyat se baat nahi karna chahte hain, issi kaaran ek thehraav ki stithi bani hui hai. Humne kaha aap jaiye aur baat kariye. Jab yeh (All party delegation) baat karne gaye, to unhone apna darwaza band kar liya tha,” ANI quoted him saying in the Rajya Sabha.
Singh said he had also assured former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti when her party was in power in J&K with an alliance with the BJP, that the Centre was willing for an “unconditional” talk to end the stalemate in the valley.

“Agar unn logo ne baat karli hoti to shayad koi na koi aur rasta khul jata. Uss samay ki CM Mehbooba Mufti se maine kaha ki agar veh humse baat karna chahte hain to hum unse baat karne ke liye taiyaar hain, humara darwaza khula hai, unconditional. (If they (separatists) had agreed to talk, perhaps we could have found some or the other way (to resolve conflict), I had told the then CM Mehbooba Mufti that if they are willing to talk, our doors are also open, unconditionally.)”

In May, last year, Mufti had urged separatists to respond to the Centre’s appeal for talks. Singh had then reportedly said that “If Hurriyat is ready to talk, we have no problem, we are ready to talk to anyone. Even if Pakistan comes for dialogue, we are ready for it,”. Mufti had then welcomed Singh’s assertion that the Centre is ready to talk to every stakeholder including Hurriyat Conference if it comes to the table. “It is a welcome step to initiate dialogue and reconciliation in the state,” the then chief minister said.