NEW DELHI, Sept 19 � Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has decided to join the 38-member all-party delegation that would visit Srinagar to take stock of the ground situation and look for ways to break the current logjam.
Talking to this newspaper, leader of the AGP�s Parliamentary group, Biren Baishya said that upon receipt of the invitation from the Centre, he has nominated Lok Sabha MP Joseph Toppo to be part of the all-party delegation that leaves for Kashmir Valley on a two-day tour on Monday.
Unlike other parties, AGP�s stand on the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is divergent and it has been demanding repeal of the Act. �We are for withdrawal of the AFSPA,� said Baishya, when asked about the regional party�s stand on the issue.
The team, which is likely to be led by Union Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee includes Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.
The all-party delegation is slated to meet representatives of all political parties including the separatist Hurriyat Conference, MLAs, MPs, representatives of trade bodies and public.
Invitations have gone to Jammu and Kashmir�s main Opposition PDP, Hurriyat Conference factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq as well as JKLF chief Yaseen.
Officials here said an all-party delegation was visiting Kashmir Valley after a gap of 20 years. In 1990, an all-party delegation led by then Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal had gone to review the law-and-order situation in the State.
The Government�s main message in sending the all-party delegation to the embattled State was to convey to the people that �the entire country is with you� as well as to ensure that the parliamentarians are placed �face to face� with the ground situation.
�The feedback received from the all-party delegation would form an important input in the government�s evolving response on various issues relating to Jammu and Kashmir,� said a statement issued after an all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, PDP on Sunday threatened to reconsider its participation in the all-party initiative of the Centre and accused the State Government of sabotaging the visit of the delegation by clamping curfew in the valley.