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Tricolour Flags Dot Srinagar Ahead of PM Modi’s Mega Rally at Open-Air Bakshi Stadium on March 7, Security Tightened – News18


Billboards with a message welcoming the prime minister have come up at multiple locations in Srinagar. (News18)

The government has been talking about ‘Vikas’ in J&K post the abrogation of Article 370 and now the prime minister will get a first-hand account of the ground situation. This is also his first direct speech to the public of Kashmir after J&K’s special status ended

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi lands in Srinagar on the morning of March 7 in his first visit to the Valley in five years, the trip will also showcased the changed situation in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) after the abrogation of Article 370.

The venue of the PM’s public rally is the iconic Bakshi Stadium and not the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) on the banks of the Dal Lake. SKICC was the venue for Modi’s events in Srinagar in 2018 and 2019, in indoor settings with heavy security cover and calls for a strike by separatist groups.

But this time, PM Modi will make an open address from the Bakshi Stadium which was ironically shut for ceremonial functions since 2018 due to security concerns, before being refurbished and hosting the Independence Day parade in August 2023.

PM Modi had held an open rally in Srinagar in the Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium in 2015 as well as in 2014.

“The trip comes in the backdrop of complete normalcy in Srinagar, the tricolour flying at Lal Chowk and a record number of tourists visiting J&K. Modi’s visit will showcase how J&K has been transformed since the abrogation of Article 370,” a senior government official in Delhi told News18.

BJP has said around two lakh people are expected in the. About 50,000 party flags have been hoisted all over Srinagar in all the major locations near the venue and the roads leading to the PM’s venue. LED screens will also be put up in Srinagar to screen the PM’s speech.

Billboards with a message welcoming the prime minister have also come up at multiple locations in Srinagar. “J&K was infamously called the terrorism capital but now it has emerged as tourism capital because of policies by the PM. Corruption has ended and people are getting jobs,” BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh said on Tuesday in Srinagar. On his last visit to Srinagar in 2019, the prime minister had also taken a boat ride in Dal Lake.

Why the visit is important

The government has been talking about ‘Vikas’ in J&K post the abrogation of Article 370 and now the prime minister will get a first-hand account of the ground situation. His cavalcade is expected to pass through areas that have been developed under the smart cities project. This is also his first direct speech to the public of Kashmir after the abrogation of J&K’s special status and downgrading the erstwhile state to a Union Territory.

PM Modi is expected to touch upon development and end of terrorism, and could attack regional political parties. It remains to be seen if he will speak on the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and the return of statehood.

The visit is significant for the BJP as a party as well. It is yet to announce candidates for the three parliamentary seats in the region.

BJP hasn’t been able to achieve anything significant in the earlier elections. Three candidates fielded by the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections – Sheikh Khalid Jehangir from Srinagar, Sofi Youssaf from Anantnag, and MM War from Baramulla — lost to the National Conference candidates. The party would want ‘Modi’s magic’ to work and achieve success as political dynamics have significantly changed in J&K.

Modi had also visited Kashmir before the Lok Sabha elections while touring Leh, Jammu, and then Kashmir while on a day-long visit.

Security Cover for the PM

IGP SPG Rajiv Ranjan Bhagat was seen touring the venue area and its peripheries with a team of Jammu and Kashmir Police.

“Multiple checkpoints have been set up, frisking is taking place at important locations while a close eye is being kept on all the entry and exit points of the venue and the city,” a police source told News18.

He said Bomb Disposal Squad teams are carrying regular checks around the venue and sniffer dogs have also been deployed at locations to foil any IED attacks.

Projects to be inaugurated

The PM will inaugurate several development projects, including the integrated development of Hazratbal Shrine and the ski drag lift at Sonmarg, among others. He will also lay the foundation of several development projects in Kashmir virtually.

He will also hand over appointment letters to the youngsters of Kashmir during his one-day programme and interact with the beneficiaries of government schemes.

On the cards is also a meeting with the family of martyrs. In the past, Home Minister Amit Shah has ensured that on each visit, he visits such families before beginning his programme in the Valley.



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