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Experts, pol parties call PM’s JK visit ‘much ado about nothing’

By Hirra Azmat/ Bisma Bhat

Srinagar, Jan 30: Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to Kashmir as his “routine exercise”, valley political parties and experts said the move “won’t yield any productive for Kashmir”.

Modi is visiting Jammu and Kashmir on February 3, amid questions over whether the Assembly elections in the centrally-ruled state will be held with the Lok Sabha polls due by May this year.


During the one-day visit, his fifth since becoming the Prime Minister in 2014, Modi will travel to all the three regions of the state–Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu.

Senior National conference leader, Ali Muhammad Sagar, said that mainstream parties as well as the people of Jammu and Kashmir entirely “have no expectations from PM’s visit”.

He said that there “was no sincerity” in the promises made by PM Modi to Kashmiris.“To alleviate the pain of the valleyites, he should follow Vajpayee’s footsteps i.e the path of Kashmiyat, Jamhooriyat, and Insaniyat,” the National Conference General Secretary, said.

The NC leader emphasized that the Kashmir “dispute” can be resolved if all the stakeholders are taken into confidence including Pakistan and Hurriyat. The political prisoners languishing in jails should be released, he added.

Seconding Sagar, People’s Democratic Party’s Spokesperson, Rafi Mir said that PM is coming to inaugurate some of the pending projects. “I don’t think he is intending to indulge in any political activity.”

Mir explained, “If the PM holds political initiatives aiming towards peace and harmony, then it will be highly appreciated.”

Senior Congress leader, G N Monga said that PM should hold dialogue with all the stake holders of Jammu and Kashmir.

President, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Mohammad Yasin Khan asserted that trader body believes the PM’s visit as a “political gimmick” ahead of the impending elections.“We hold absolutely no expectations from the PM. He is coming simply to launch some mega projects in the regions that ironically have less population than the valley.”

He added, “Besides, the elections are near. The project inaugurals will add to their vote bank.”
On assembly elections, he commented, “It’s a tricky situation. I believe Centre may not conduct the parliamentary polls simultaneously with the assembly elections.”

Noted political expert Professor Noor Mohammad Baba said, “I don’t expect anything extraordinary from the PM visit. He has a fixed schedule and his visit won’t go beyond the project inaugurations.”

Baba said, “With elections drawing near, these are political tactics to strengthen the party’s electoral chances. Meanwhile, let’s wait and watch.”
He added, “The PM doesn’t have to come here for the announcement of assembly elections. He can communicate with ECI and make the decision accordingly. Don’t expect this visit is for the decision making.”

Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz stressed that, “If the PM of the GOI takes a political initiative then the Hurriyat Conference will think over it.”

He said that the Kashmir issue was not administrative in nature related to roads, inaugurating of tunnels, power projects or job nor was it a law and order issue to be handled by repression.“It is directly linked to the political future of tens of millions of citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and it needs to be resolved as per the will and aspirations of these people,” he said.

Modi is scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir on February 3, amid questions over whether the Assembly elections in the centrally-ruled state will be held with the Lok Sabha polls due by May this year.

During the one-day visit, his fifth since becoming the PM in 2014, Modi will travel to all the three regions of the state–Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu.

AIP to welcome PM with black flags

Srinagar, Jan 30: Former MLA Sheikh Abdul Rasheed on Wednesday said his Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) will show black flags to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his February 3 visit here to protest the Centre’s “colonial mindset” and “looting” of Jammu and Kashmir’s resources.

He also expressed concern over a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to be signed between the Centre, state government and National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) for starting work on the 850MW Ratle Power Project.

“We will receive Narendra Modi with black flags in Srinagar on his upcoming visit to protest against the colonial mindset of New Delhi and against looting resources of the state,” Rasheed said in a statement here.

“While the (Jammu and Kashmir) State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC) is competent enough to construct Ratle or any other power project, New Delhi seems to be adamant to loot our resources and is always utilising services of NHPC like East India Company,” the former MLA said.

Rasheed alleged that though GVK Power and Infrastructure had started work on Ratle power project, the company left the project midway after realising that the state power development corporation will not allow it to fulfil its selfish designs.

He said there was no justification for bringing companies from outside the state for constructing power projects as the JKSPDC had successfully commissioned 900 MW Phase-I and Phase-II, thus making an annual turnover of more than Rs 1,500 crore.

Rasheed claimed that on the directions of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Union power ministry, the Jammu and Kashmir government has prepared a draft to construct the Ratle Project through joint investment between NHPC and JKSPDC.

“While NHPC will be investing and owning 51 percent of the total project cost, JKPDC will get just 49 percent shares. As per agreement the project will be handed over to the state government after 25 years and for the first 10 years, the state is going to get nothing out of the said project after being commissioned,” he said.

In the agenda of alliance between PDP and BJP, the state was supposed to get power projects back from NHPC, it is “shameful that New Delhi is misusing governor’s office and position to loot the resources of the state”, he alleged.