The Prime Minister is visiting Udhampur and Poonch today as BJP’s star campaigner. While the majority in this hindu populated part of the state may have already vowed their alliance to the leader who is leading the nation with a collective sentiment of positivism, reuniting the populations from the two parts of the state divided more by history than religion itself is something everyone has anxiously set eyes for.
Even as the Modi wave has enabled BJP to saffronize Maharashtra and Haryana it remains to be seen what will be the influence of this charismatic leader in the ensuing Jammu and Kashmir polls. The influence of Modi was felt strongly during the Lok Sabha polls, and BJP won three seats in the state which was a historic first. The state of politics in Jammu and Kashmir at present in a flux with PDP trying to make inroads in Jammu plains as well as hilly areas in the province. The National Conference and Congress are facing strong anti-incumbency and they are down but the latter still can hold a bit of it’s turf. In such a situation, the BJP buoyoed by the historic Modi wave could do very well in Jammu region which is populated by Hindus but the big question is will Modi wave be able to influence the Muslims of the state. It has been seen recently that the strong intervention made by the Prime Minister during the recent floods has been greatly appreciated by people in Kashmir. The role of the Union government, and PMO in the relief, and rescue operations post the floods has also been hailed. Recently, the traders in Kashmir booed an NC cabinet minister while they welcomed a central minister. But will this positivity turn into political capital for the Modi led BJP in Kashmir valley, and other areas in the state where Kashmiris have always seen the party as it’s natural opponent. While it would be a tough ask even from PM Modi but anything is possible given the current mood.
PM Modi despite being accused of the Godhra violence has been able to brush off the stigma caused by Gujarat riots. As such if Modinomics is able to influence the Kashmiris and other Muslims in the state to vote for BJP then it would be nothing less then revolutionary. If BJP in Jammu is able to take into confidence the people of Kashmir it would herald a new chapter in the politics of not only Jammu and Kashmir, and India. It is also a chance for the people of the state to cut across parochial regional lines, leave behind religion, and vote for a new leader who is offering a new era of development and growth. But given the proximity of BJP with RSS, and extreme stands taken by Hindutva leaders sometime it would be difficult for the Muslims in Kashmir to bite the Modi pill. However, it is also to be pointed out that religious differences in Jammu and Kashmir have not been as shrill as seen in other states of the country. Here the differences have been more on regional and ethnic lines, and if Modi’s appeal is able to overcome these obstacles then it would really be the victory of his development and growth agenda. Right now it is time to build the broken bridges between Kashmiris and Jammuites, and Hindus, and Muslims in the state, and if any man can do this-it is none of ther than Narendera Modi.