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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Will bring 'saffron revolution' in J-K: Modi

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Leh, August 12, 2014
First Published: 10:39 IST(12/8/2014) | Last Updated: 12:57 IST(12/8/2014)

"We will bring saffron revolution in Jammu and Kashmir," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Leh on Tuesday, quickly adding it was kesar (the spice) of the state he was talking about.

Saffron is the colour associated with Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party. 

"I am fortunate to have worked as a BJP worker in Jammu and Kashmir and will repay the debt I owe you for all the love," he said.

"I am aware of the difficulties of the region and also strengths. Centre will work with the state for the development of the region," the PM added after inaugurating a power plant.   

Modi, who has been to the state twice now after assuming office, said there was a time when PMs never visited the Himalayan areas for years.

Modi met Army and IAF personnel and also laid a foundation stone for the 349-km Leh-Srinagar transmission line.

 

Modi's visit to the two high-altitude Himalayan towns is expected to touch on demands of locals in Leh and Kargil including employment generation and an assurance to take up with China and Pakistan respectively the issue of opening of Mansarovar road from Leh and re-opening of Kargil-Skardu road.

His visit also comes ahead of the assembly polls later this year.

Leh town was all decked up to welcome the PM, with hoardings erected at various places and the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) lotus flag seen prominently at various traffic intersections.

The BJP bagged the Ladakh parliamentary constituency for the first time this year when its candidate Thupstan Chhewang won the seat by a slender margin of 36 votes.

Chief executive councillor of Ladakh Hill Development Council Rigzin Spalbar told PTI that the people of Ladakh had high expectations from the Prime Minister's visit.

"I hope the BJP lives up to its promise of granting Union Territory status to the region," he said.

Spalbar, who has been raising various issues about the difficulties faced by people of this region, said he would also flag the frequent incursion bids by Chinese and attempts to terrorise the local population living along the Line of Actual Control (LoAC).

The new Army Chief General Dalbir Singh arrived in Leh on Monday to firm up arrangements for the PM's visit. The jawans of ITBP have been pressed into service for securing all the venues.

BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Avinash Rai Khanna (Rajya Sabha MP who looks after Jammu and Kashmir) reached Leh on Monday to work out last minute preparations for a public rally at the Polo Ground where Modi dedicated to the nation 45 MW Nimoo Bazgo Hydroelectric Project.

The PM is scheduled to fly to Kargil town, where he will hold a public rally and dedicate to nation the 44 MW Chutak Power station and.

BJP will be trying hard to win at least a couple of assembly seats from Ladakh parliamentary constituency, which sends four MLAs to the state assembly.

People in Kargil are hoping the PM will address some of their long pending demands like construction of the Zojjila Tunnel, Airport, opening of Kargil Skardu Road and establishing High Altitude Sports Authority of India Campus for Sports like Ice Hockey.

A National Adventure School and a Doordarshan kendra in Kargil and employment avenues for youths in Army and paramilitary forces are among other demands.

The two projects which have already started generation are expected to solve a lot of power woes of the border state but only after the transmission line from Leh to Srinagar is completed.

(With inputs from Agencies)

Highlights of PM Modi's speech in Leh:
* I know the problems people face and most importantly I know the strength of this land: PM

* After a very long time this place is seeing such a large gathering of people: PM

* The government is dedicated to working towards the development of J&K: PM

* There was a time when PMs never visited this state. I have come here two times already: PM

* We have put Leh at the focus of our solar energy initiatives: PM

* We must link all corners of India in every way: PM

* Development must be such that it positively transforms the lives of the common people: PM

* We have to bring about a 'saffron revolution' in Jammu and Kashmir. Saffron farmers will get special attention: PM


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