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Jammu KashmirWorn-out rhetoric: Opposition parties express disappointment over PM's speech in Srinagar

Worn-out rhetoric: Opposition parties express disappointment over PM’s speech in Srinagar


Srinagar, Mar 7: Opposition parties expressed their disappointment over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech in and Kashmir's Srinagar on Thursday, alleging it was “worn-out rhetoric” that failed to meet the expectations of the people.

Addressing a massive rally at Srinagar's Bakshi stadium, the first by a prime minister, Modi asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is “breathing freely” after the abrogation of Article 370 and pledged accelerated progress over the next five years.

This was Modi's first visit to Kashmir since the Centre revoked the special status given to the erstwhile state and bifurcated it into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh — on August 5, 2019.

While the Congress alleged the prime minister has “disappointed” the people of Jammu and Kashmir by avoiding the core issues of restoration of democracy and statehood, Conference president Farooq Abdullah said Modi has made it a habit of targeting political parties over dynastic .

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said Modi's visit to Kashmir was only meant to drum support for the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

Interacting with reporters, Farooq Abdullah said, “I am glad that the prime minister came to Kashmir after five years. It's a great moment of pride for all of us that he was able to come and that too in the winter.”

Referring to Modi's remarks criticising dynastic politics that, he claimed, “plagued the region”, the National Conference president said, “In every speech, the prime minister makes a particular target for this thing.”

There has been no dynastic rule in since Independence, he said, adding, “You get elected by the people. You are not coming from the top if people do not want you. I lost an election as a chief minister because people rejected me at that time. So, where is dynastic rule?”

His party, in a statement, said Prime Minister Modi's Kashmir visit and his speech was “disappointing” and that it failed to meet the expectations of people.

Asked by reporters about the prime minister's remarks on Article 370 abrogation, Abdullah asked how did Jammu and Kashmir progressed if Article 370 was bad.

“I would like the prime minister to again hear the speech made in Rajya Sabha by Ghulam Nabi Azad in which he compared Gujarat and Jammu and Kashmir. With figures he (Azad) proved the progress this state made as compared to Gujarat,” he said.

About Modi describing the people of Jammu and Kashmir as his family, the NC president said Modi is the prime minister and so the whole country is his “parivaar”.

On the prime minister's remark that Jammu and Kashmir is “breathing freely” after the abrogation of Article 370, Abdullah called for setting up a commission to bring out the reality.

About Modi's comments on the transformation of J&K Bank, Abdullah said, “A commission should be set up which would establish where the bank was in our times. Its share value in my time was Rs 1,200. If the bank was third-rated, how did that happen?”

Jammu and Kashmir Congress leader Ravinder Sharma said the political aspect of the prime minister's speech was on the expected lines but it was expected that “instead of claiming credit for some of the UPA projects… he would refer to the commitment before the house and the Supreme Court about the restoration of illegally snatched statehood and holding of assembly and other polls”.

Lakhs of unemployed youth, daily wagers, contractual and other temporary employees as well regular employees were expecting something for themselves from PM Modi's pre-election tour, “but they were left high and dry”, he said.

While speaking at the rally on the transformation of J&K Bank, Modi said it has posted a profit of Rs 1700 crore from being on the verge of collapse while the recruitment process has been transparent in the last five years.

The Congress said the prime minister should have taken to task the Union Territory administration for “large-scale recruitment scams”.

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, on the other hand, alleged that government employees were “forcibly” ferried to the venue of the prime minister's event here.

“Government employees are being herded at five am in sub-zero temperatures into vehicles at Budgam bus stand ferrying them to the PM's rally. Disheartening to see employees being forcibly mobilised to paint a pretty picture that all is well post-2019 and that people here are celebrating their own collective disempowerment and humiliation,” she said in a post on X.

“Kashmiris know that everything spoken at Bakshi stadium will be to showcase the so-called benefits of illegal abrogation of Article 370 akin to rubbing salt to their wounds,” the PDP chief said.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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