Intro: Modi’s rally in Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium saw revival of political and electoral culture that comprised of hoardings and democratic sloganeering in the valley which otherwise would witness separatist demonstrations in routine.?
Re-affirming union government’s commitment to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari’s vision of ‘Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhoriyat’, Prime Minister Narender Modi said here that it was high time to put an end to the ‘Khandani Raj’ of National Conference and People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Addressing a responsive Kashmiri audience comprising of people from all age groups and social segments at Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium, the Prime Minister called upon the people of the state to vote for BJP if they wanted to root-out corruption from the state.
The Prime Minister said the people in valley have defeated the guns by coming out to vote in large numbers despite all kinds of threats and propaganda from the anti-national elements and it was now right time to crush corruption which had haunted the state for decades now. This could only be done by putting an end to the ‘Baap-Beta ki Sarkar’ and by keeping the ‘Baap-Beti ki Sarkar’ away from the helm of affairs in the state. The two phrases referring to NC and PDP were received overwhelmingly by the sloganeering crowd which appeared to have made up its mind for a big change in the state.
Modi said several opportunities of change were lost by the previous regimes as they were lacking in their commitment to the people of the state. While by remembering Atal, Narender Modi, made it clear that he was carrying forward the legacy of the veteran leader, the stage itself was carrying big symbols and evidences of the change that has taken place in the meantime. It may be recalled that then Prime Minister spoke from behind bullet-proof glasses while NaMo roared without any such protection or hindrance between him and the electrified audiences. This was an indicator of the fact that much water had flown in Jhelum since then and Kashmir valley, and a small part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir now wanted to embrace the mantras of peace and development.
The Prime Minister indicated that he understood the sufferings and troubles of the people of the state and said here was an opportunity to seriously and sincerely address the real issues.
Modi said people wanted an accountable and honest government as they were fed up with the misdeeds and ill-treatment at the hands of earlier governments. That the outgoing-NC government had lost the confidence of the people of the state was evident from the fact that they wanted flood-relief money direct into their accounts, he added. The Prime Minister said according to a famous saying in hilly areas the ‘Pani and Jawani’ i.e. waters and the youth of the people of hilly areas are never utilized for the people of these areas. He was determined to reverse this saying by creating infrastructure for optimum utilization of the hydro-wealth of the mountains and generating job opportunities locally for the people of the state.
The Modi-fied Mood…
- ‘Na doori hai na khaayi hai – Modi Hamara Bhai hai’, ‘Dekho dekho kaun aaya down town ka sher aaya’…. were the slogans which were being raised by a group of youth on a road heading towards Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium.
- “It is for the first time in last 30 years that people have shown such craze for a BJP rally in the valley. It is for the first time that huge hoardings have been put by BJP candidates in Srinagar”, said Khourshid Ahamad, a resident of Amira Kadal Constituency.
- BJP candidates from various constituencies joined the rally with their supporters. They were chanting slogans in Kashmiri. A large number of Burka clad Muslim women too thronged the stadium.
- The multi-layered security checks failed to bring down the enthusiasm and craze of the people who had to walk several kilometers to reach the venue.
- People started to reach the venue of Rally at 10. Though the rally was scheduled at 1 PM. All the candidates from Srinagar and Baramulla reached there with their supporters. Modi’s first appearance at the stage was cheered by the crowd. Modi was attired in Pherahan, a local dress. An elated participant claimed that the state has seen the regimes of Congress, National Conference and People’s Democratic Party in last 67 years and all these political formations failed to deliver. For Kashmiri’s, Narender Modi symbolizes a new ray of hope, he added.
On the sidelines of the historic show of political strength, a representative of a popular channel was asking local women whether they thought Modi will connect with the famous Atal rally of 2003 and the issues that were raised in the same. Within a few minutes Prime Minister Modi entered the stadium amid the skyrocketing slogans of Modi-Modi and he opened his speech by remembering Shri Atal Bihari Vajpaye.
While political opponents lost no time in dismissing Modi’s speech as a political gimmick and alleging that he did not touch the real issues like Article 370 and Paksitan, the fact remains that the Prime Minister succeeded in touching the right notes. Women coming out of the stadium after his speech were heard saying that they were for development and against the gun-culture. We want jobs for our children instead of guns. Yasir a youth from Kupwara said that our youth was wasted in the state of turmoil. We do not want our forthcoming generation to experience the same. Tourism must be promoted in the area. There is huge potential which can be used for job creation.
The rally saw revival of a political and electoral culture that comprised of hoardings and democratic sloganeering in the valley which otherwise would witness separatist demonstrations in routine.
Feeling the impact of Modi Rally, PDP too was compelled to hold a rally in the same stadium.
—Ranjan from Srinagar