SRI NAGAR: Asserting that he would fulfil the dream of his BJP-NDA predecessor A B Vajpayee on Jammu& Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who on Monday addressed his maiden election rally in the Valley, promised development and justice to people. He, however, steered clear of Article 370 and Pakistan in his speech.
“The people of Kashmir have given me a lot of love and trust and I can never forget it. I assure you that I will return this love with interest through development of the Kashmir,” Modi said addressing his first election rally at Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium here.
Some 10,000 people, including women waving BJP flags attended the rally, which was the first to be addressed by the PM at the venue. Former PMs Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh had addressed public meetings in the nearby ground of the stadium complex. Incidentally, the cricketing venue was also witness to some rabid politicking when a dozen youth had dug up the pitch during a one-day match in 1983 between Kapil Dev-led Indian team and Windies XI marshalled by Clive Lloyd.
Clad in a Pheran, (Kashmiri traditional gown), Modi said Kashmir needs development. “Two generations of Kashmir have lived their life in problems due to unemployment. Ï have come here to share your grief and sorrow. Your grief is my grief, your sorrow is my sorrow,” the PM said.
According to Modi, development can solve all the problems in the Valley. “In last 30 years we have followed several paths but I want to tell that only one path-- of development-- can solve all our problems. It (development) will allow future generations to live with dignity and honour. Kashmir has to be taken to new heights of development,” he said, adding there should be no discrimination in development.
Amidst the chanting of pro-Modi slogans by some of the participants, he said as a pradhan sevak, he has been visiting the Valley every month ever since he took over as the country’s Prime Minister. “I visited( J&K) in July, August, September, October, November and now December. I will visit (the state) again in 2015,” he told the gathering.
Invoking the elder statesman in his speech, Modi said, “Vajpayeeji made a good beginning. He talked about insaniyat (humanity), Kashmiriyat and jamhooriyat (democracy). I want to assure you that I will take his dream forward,” he said.