On his first visit to Jammu and Kashmir after taking charge, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said his government’s intention was not to play politics but to win the hearts of the people of the state, and pushed for a common development model for all Himalayan states.
“Our motive is never the politics of gain or loss, but winning the hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said after inaugurating the 25-km Udhampur-Katra section in Jammu. “It is my priority to win the hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and this has to be achieved through development and their welfare,” he said, adding that the legacy of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will be carried forward.
However, unlike Vajpayee, who had addressed a public rally in Srinagar, Modi resisted from making any political speech in the Valley and kept himself confined to official functions in Srinagar and Uri.
In Katra, Modi said Jammu and Kashmir needed both speed and energy in development and that every citizen of the country wanted it to prosper. While it has to be seen how the state is taken on the path of development, he said, “We all have a responsibility to see that the people of the state are happy and prosperous.”
Proposing a common development model for all Himalayan states, he said these states have many common problems — and common opportunities as well. “A common model for development will benefit all the Himalayan states from Jammu and Kashmir to the Northeast. It will provide a clear vision to the Centre not only in matter of their development but also in understanding the expectations of those states,” he said.
Accompanied by Railway Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Union Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh, the prime minister avoided any political talk on the occasion. Rather he tried to strike an emotional chord with youth of the state, saying they needed new job opportunities.
He also referred to his conversations with schoolchildren on board the passenger train flagged off by him at the Katra railway station, regretting that 80 per cent of them had not seen trains earlier. “While it was a matter of joy for those children boarding the train for the first time, for us it was a matter to think about as to which way the development process has been taken so far,” he said.
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.