Modi reaches Katra, pays obeisance at Vaishno Devi | india | Hindustan Times
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Modi reaches Katra, pays obeisance at Vaishno Devi

india Updated: Mar 26, 2014 13:09 IST
HT Correspondent

Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi paid obeisance at the famous holy shrine Vaishno Devi on Wednesday.

Modi is also scheduled to address a public rally at Hiranagar in Kathua district. Hiranagar, at the border of Jammu-Poonch parliamentary constituency, has been chosen so that he can address both the Jammu-Poonch and the Udhampur-Doda constituencies.

The BJP is in strong contention in these two seats out of the six in the state.
Modi, who last addressed a rally at Jammu in December, had an audience of about 80,000.

The state unit is heavily banking on the 'Modi wave' as the party had lost two consecutive parliamentary elections, to the Congress, from both the seats.

In the Udhampur-Doda constituency, BJP candidate Jatinder Singh is contesting against union minister and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

In the Jammu-Poonch constituency, BJP candidate Jugal Kishore Sharma is pitted against Congress MP Madan Lal Sharma. The party faces double challenges against this Congress candidate.

And, like the last time, the Congress party is fighting elections in alliance with the National Conference.

Modi's biggest challenge is not to consolidate Hindu votes but not to repel Muslim voters. The Jammu region has 65% Hindu population and 30% Muslims. Kashmir has about 91% Muslims.

In the 2008 parliamentary elections from the Jammu-Poonch seats, BJP came close to the Congress in only 13 Hindu dominated assembly seats and in Muslim dominated Rajouri-Poonch district it got about 51,000 votes, while the Congress party was way ahead by about 1.5lakh in the seven assembly constituencies of these two districts.

From the Udhampur seats, Azad managed to give lead the Congress party in seven assembly constituencies of the erstwhile Doda district.

In his last address at Jammu, Modi had said the BJP was ready to debate relevance and need for Art 370, departing from party rhetoric of scrapping it. But more importantly he talked about issues related to neglect of Gujjars, Bakerwals and Paharis, which are the Muslim communities.