Five things to watch out for on PM Modi’s Kashmir visit today

  • Ramesh Vinayak/Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Nov 07, 2015 10:39 IST
A soldier stands guard alongside a poster bearing the image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi near the venue of Modi's scheduled rally in Srinagar on November 6, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a public rally at heavily-secured Sher-e-Kashmir stadium in the heart of Srinagar, where he is expected to announce a big economic package for rehabilitation of flood victims and rebuilding infrastructure for the state’s economic growth.

The two ruling parties, People’s Democratic Party and the BJP have been mobilising crowds for Modi’s rally, his first in Kashmir. Each MLA of both parties has been tasked to bring at least 200 supporters for the gathering.

Here are five things to watch out for on the much anticipated visit:

Economic package

Prime Minister is expected to unveil a much-awaited economic package for victims of the floods in Kashmir last year and also for a booster dose to the state’s infrastructure and employment creation. The package, officially pegged at Rs 92,000 crore, will give a major leg-up to the ruling PDP-BJP alliance.

Political message

Will Modi go beyond the package and hold out a political message in the country’s only Muslim majority state? Chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed expects him to address the apprehensions and aspirations of Muslims, especially in the backdrop of the killing last month of a Kashmiri truck driver by a mob protesting against beef-eating.

Breaking ice with Pakistan

Will Modi’s make use of the Kashmir pulpit to reach out to Islamabad to break the ice on a stalled-dialogue ? On Friday, Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif articulated a pro-talk overture which Modi may respond from Kashmir which is the ground zero of India-Pakistan conflict.

Stance on separatists

It will be keenly watched whether Modi make a subtle overture to the Kashmiri separatists and articulates New Delhi’s willingness to engage separatists for dialogue to address the internal dimensions of Kashmir dispute.

Intolerance debate

Coming in the wake of a communally-polarised Bihar elections, anti-Muslim rants of BJP MPs and right-wing elements and lynching of a Muslim person over the beef issue, Jammu and Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state, provides a window and a platform for Modi to set the record straight on divisive issues. Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has already set the tone by calling Modi “ tolerant and inclusive”.

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