When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces an expected ‘mega economic package’ for Jammu and Kashmir, he may be doing so at a function organised to mark the birth centenary celebrations of a late Congress leader, Pt Girdhari Lal Dogra, here on Friday.
Modi, along with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, is set to visit Jammu on July 17 to attend the event to honour Pt Dogra, the Congress leader who was the state’s finance minister for over two decades and a Member of Parliament from Udhampur-Doda and Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha constituencies.
The stalwart Congress leader is also the father-in-law of Arun Jaitley. Dogra was the state’s Finance Minister in the Sheikh Abdullah government when BJP ideologue, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, was arrested for entering Jammu and Kashmir without a valid permit on May 11, 1953. Dr Mookerjee died in a Kashmir jail on June 23 the same year. Interestingly, no BJP leader from the Centre visited Jammu to mark the leader’s death anniversary last month, which remained a low key affair.
Even though Dogra was a veteran Congress leader, the function to mark his birth centenary happens to be a private affair being organised by the Pt Girdhari Lal Dogra Trust.
However, Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, is likely to be among senior Congress leaders attending the function. The Congress is also organising a separate function to mark the occasion at its state headquarters here the same day. Congress vice president in the state, Sham Lal Sharma, said the function will be presided over by the party’s state president, G A Mir.
Though there has been no official word about PM’s visit or the announcement of economic package on Friday, local BJP leaders are hopeful that PM will announce a mega package for the state’s infrastructure.