BJP kick-starts Lok Sabha poll campaign in Kashmir Valley

BJP National vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna
BJP National vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna

The BJP kick-started its Lok Sabha campaign in Kashmir Valley with a meet at the Sher-e-Kashmir Park on Thursday.

The ‘Shakti Kendra Sammelan’ was presided by the party’s national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna.

The agenda of the meeting was to strengthen ground-level organisation by holding several such meetings in the state, which has six Lok Sabha seats.

The party had last month launched a programme to meet workers in clusters of two or three constituencies across the country. In Jammu, BJP president Amit Shah addressed workers of two constituencies.

Khanna said the party hopes to win over 400 seats in the upcoming general election on the basis of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s name and the performance of his government.

“Last time our mission was 272-plus seats. This time BJP’s aim is 400-plus seats. We fought the last election on Modi’s name, this time we will fight it on his name as well as on the basis of the work he has done. In the past five years, we have done things that previous governments could not get done in the previous 60 years,” Khanna said.

The BJP leader asked the party workers to become active and go all out while preparing for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Khanna said Modi’s vision is to develop Jammu and Kashmir as a tourist hub and for that the party is committed to take several development measures in the state.

“The flow of tourists in the state will directly benefit everybody from cab driver to hotelier here,” he said.

He asked the party workers to work hard to ensure the party’s victory on all six parliamentary seats in the state.

Talking to reporters later, Khanna said the party also wanted assembly polls in the state along with the parliamentary election, but the decision to not hold simultaneous polls was of the Election Commission and the party had no role in it.

Asked about National Conference president Farooq Abdullah’s remarks that the Balakot strikes were done keeping Lok Sabha elections in mind, Khanna said it was unfortunate.

“Opposition parties across the country supported the move. It is unfortunate that he says one thing in Kashmir, another in Jammu and something else in Delhi. This decision (air strikes) was taken in the interest of the country and for the first time, the army was given a free hand to decide the timing and nature of the retaliation. This is not an election issue, this is a concern of national security and the strength of the nation,” he said.

Indian Air Force carried out strikes on terrorist camp in Pakistan’s Balakot after the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed in February. PTI