New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday told a delegation of the newly-launched Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) that the Centre would work with all sections of the Valley’s population to restore its statehood, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has said. Also Read - Former PDP Leader Altaf Bukhari Launches His Political Outfit 'Apni Party', Vows to Preserve Dignity of People of J&K

The Prime Minister had yesterday met a 24-member delegation of JKAP leaders, led by its founder-president, former People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Altaf Bukhari.

In a statement, the PMO said, “PM engaged with the delegation on various issues. Referring to his statement in Parliament, Prime Minister underlined that the Government will work with all sections of the population to realize the hopes of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir at an early opportunity.”

In the meeting, which lasted for two hours, the leaders urged the Centre to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir, which is now a union territory, as ‘there is a sense of loss among the people after the state was reduced to its current status.’

At the meeting, according to reports, the delegation is also reported to have told the Prime Minister about a ‘gap’ between the people and the local administration and the Centre, stressing that the same needed to ‘go.’ It also reportedly raised with the PM concerns relating to people’s jobs, education and their business.

Notably, this marked the first time that PM Modi met a political outfit from Jammu and Kashmir since his government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year, thus scrapping the special status of the now-former state. As a part of this move, the government also split the region into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, a status they acquired on October 31.