The string of deadly militant attacks in Kashmir Valley on Friday has not deterred an excited BJP team in Srinagar to adorn the city for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's upcoming rally.
The saffron party will clearly leave nothing to chance when its star campaigner holds his first rally in the city on Monday, to win over the majority Muslim community for his ambitious 'Mission 44+'.
In a mega buildup, thousands of BJP workers have started to paint the state's summer capital in saffron using 6000 banners and party flags. Interestingly, thousands of roses have also been bought despite the fact that it is winter these days here.
The BJP expects a huge audience and has hired around 2500 vehicles to ferry people to the venue at the Sher-i-Kashmir cricket stadium, despite a shutdown call by separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Then the party headquarter in Srinagar is, of course, wearing a carnival look, with frantic workers busy with preparations. "Everybody wants to take part in this grand event,'' said an enthusiastic media in-charge, Altaf Thakur. "Except for the constituencies which are going to the polls the next day, workers from all over valley are likely to participate,'' he said.
Narendra Modi has visited the state many a time in the past, and also after taking oath as the Prime Minister, but this is the first time he will be holding a public gathering in the Kashmir Valley. Moreover, Modi will be coming as a BJP leader to woo voters for his party.Two of the five phases of elections to the state assembly are over and Srinagar will go to polls on December 14.
Modi will be making the visit just three days after deadly violence by heavily-armed militants shook the region by killing eleven soldiers and two civilians. The Prime Minister called the attacks "desperate attempts" to derail the "atmosphere of hope created by the increased voter turnout."
However his party's spokesman, Shahnawaz Hussain, said the BJP is hopeful that the enthusiasm among voters in the Valley will not peter out due to the violence.
"The stage is set for the rally," he said, adding "We are sure that the people of Kashmir will respond with a ballot for the bullet." Hussain said Modi has always been in the Valley when the people needed him the most. "Modi lives in the hearts of the people," he said.
Meanwhile, security agencies have sounded a high alert ahead of the Monday rally. A multi-tier cordon has been placed in the areas around the venue which has been sanitised and sealed. Even media persons are not being allowed to enter inside.
"Adequate security arrangements are in place for the rally said," said DIG police, Afadul Mujtaba.
Police on Friday had said that Modi could have been the target of two militants killed in a gunfight in Soura, less than 10 km away from the venue.