Preparations are underway for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mega rally in Srinagar on Saturday, 7 November, with People’s Democratic Party cadre themselves mobilising people to turn out in great numbers for the event, in which a major financial package for the state is expected to be announced.
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who has been under pressure from party insiders to snap ties with ally Bharatiya Janata Party, is eyeing to exploit the occasion and showcase to the people of the state that the PDP-BJP regime can be the vehicle for change and economic development, as the PM will inaugurate three projects including the Baglihar hydro-electric power project. Sayeed has told his dissenting colleagues that Modi will handle Kashmir the “Vajpayee way” and make important announcements during his speech on Saturday. He has asked them, hence, to wait with patience and allow the coalition government to gain momentum.
The PDP has also asked its workers to prepare for the rally in a big way and make it successful. Informed sources told this newspaper that for two consecutive days, CM Sayeed held important core meetings with his colleagues to monitor the preparations for the PM’s public addresses.
The BJP cadre has also been mobilising people, especially in the frontier district of Kupwara where BJP ally and Cabinet minister Sajjad Lone has a huge public base.
Mufti further praised the PM for his vision and said that his main agenda behind aligning with the BJP was to integrate the people of the three regions of the state — Kashmir, Jammu and Ladhak — and also bridge the gap between the state and the rest of the country.
“I had several options after the Assembly elections and Sonia Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah all had offered me unconditional support. But I decided to go with the BJP in order to change the destiny of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mufti said on Thursday in a public meeting.
Mufti added that he expected an announcement of initiating dialogue with Pakistan as well as the separatists. “We will engage with even those who have opposite views,” Mufti said, hinting that he was more than willing to have talks with the separatist camp.
Meanwhile, security has been increased ahead of PM Modi’s visit to the state. Several rounds of high level security meetings have been held and the top brass of the police and the intelligence agencies have checked the spots where the PM will visit.
According to official reports, the PM will first address a joint rally of the PDP and the BJP in Srinagar and then fly to Jammu to inaugurate three projects.