Modi visit sets tone for BJP’s J&K poll plank

The BJP aims to showcase electoral success in J&K as validation of its governance decisions, particularly the abrogation of Article 370.
Security personnel near the SKICC on the eve of the International Day of Yoga, in Srinagar, Thursday, June 20, 2024.
Security personnel near the SKICC on the eve of the International Day of Yoga, in Srinagar, Thursday, June 20, 2024.(Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Srinagar on June 20-21 marks a significant step in the BJP’s strategy for assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, where the saffron party aims to secure maximum seats, party leaders said.

The PM’s visit, the first since securing a third consecutive term at the Centre, was planned to enhance BJP’s electoral prospects in J&K. It was a calculated move to normalise the situation, which the Opposition projected as “not well” in the wake of recent terrorist incidents, the leaders said.

“PM’s visit was aimed not only to preempt the Opposition criticism but also to bolster the morale of the BJP cadre ahead of elections,” a senior BJP leader told this newspaper. “This was PM Modi’s first visit after the declaration of Lok Sabha results and recent terror incidents in J&K. The BJP, aiming to win maximum seats to come to power in J&K after abrogation of Article 370, has prepared a slew of outreaches in the Union Territory,” the leader said, wishing anonymity.

The statement underscores the BJP’s intent to leverage Modi’s presence to project stability and progress after the repeal of Article 370 in August 2019, and maximise poll gains showcasing its policies and governance agenda in J&K.

“We are aiming to field candidates in over 70% of the seats and exploring pre-poll alliances with local parties,” said J&K BJP chief Ravinder Raina.

Following the delimitation process, J&K has 114 assembly seats, including 24 designated for areas in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, 43 in Jammu and 47 in Kashmir.

“The BJP plans to focus more on Kashmir region, where militancy has almost been contained,” said a BJP leader. “Modi’s visit was a part of the BJP’s Mission Kashmir 2024 strategy. It laid down the groundwork to consolidate voter support across the Valley and Jammu region,” the leader said.

The BJP aims to showcase electoral success in J&K as validation of its governance decisions, particularly the abrogation of Article 370. “Securing a strong mandate in the upcoming elections will substantiate our rationale behind scrapping of Article 370,” political analyst RK Verma said.

He said Modi’s visit on June 20 and 21 was poised to resonate politically serving as a pivotal moment in BJP’s poll strategy. “As the party readies for assembly elections, Modi’s engagements in the region were strategically finalised with political shrewdness to shape public perception and political discourse, laying the groundwork for a decisive electoral contest in J&K,” said Verma.

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