Sajad Lone Meets Modi, Calls Him Big Brother

NEW DELHI: People's Conference leader Sajad Gani Lone met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday evening triggering speculations that he might join hands with the BJP ahead of the upcoming Assembly Elections in the state.

After meeting the PM, the former separatist leader praised Modi's humble attitude and termed him as a very down to earth person.

Showering praise on Prime Minister, Lone said, "Modi was so large hearted that it was tough to say whether I was meeting PM of India or my elder brother."

Earlier, Modi-Lone meet had triggered speculations that the former separatist leader may join hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Conforming his meeting with Modi, Sajad, however, dismissed all speculations saying that his meet with Mr Modi was a personal one. “I came to meet the PM as a Kashmiri and was glad to know that he is keen on overall development of Kashmir." “The PM wants to make the Valley the most beautiful place in the world,” Lone added.

Sajad Lone said that he met the Prime Minister at 7 Race Course at 4.15 P.M and the main agenda of the meeting was exchange of ideas on the ways and means of developing the state to its full potential.

“A series of issues were discussed however the main focus remained the recent floods in Kashmir and the need for swift and concrete efforts towards relief and rehabilitation in its wake,” Sajad said, adding that he during the meeting also underscored the need to seize the recent adversity as an opportunity and work towards the development of Kashmir as one of the most beautiful places in the world and a premiere global tourist destination. 

He also added how it was a unique opportunity to develop Kashmir as the prototype of a Smart City. “The PM responded very positively both to the concept of Smart City and that of tourist destination by drawing parallels with the region of Kutch (Gujrat) which too had undergone a disastrous earthquake some years back and had now been transformed into a leading tourist hub.”

The Peoples’ Conference chairman said that the construction of a 6 lane expressway from Srinagar to Kupwara in a bid to bridge the difference of both distance and opportunities would yield maximum results. Other suggestions included access to opportunities such as Health facilities in the form of Medical College complete with a functioning hospital and Research facilities, educational facilities: Central University etc.  Sajad said that also identified the enormous scope for tourism in the area such as in the little known and presently inaccessible areas of the Bangus and Lolaab Valleys, LoC tourism and eco-tourism. He also requested the PM to look into the possibility of special recruitment for disadvantaged people from the hilly and border regions in the quota for central jobs. He also requested the PM to look into the expedition of the railway network being extended to Kupwara while also undertaking the construction of a tunnel to the border outpost of Karnah. “The meeting ended on a positive and reciprocating note,” Sajad said. 

Lone's meeting with PM Modi comes days after he said that his party would contest the J&K Assembly elections on its own and any post-poll alliance will be decided after the election results are declared.

Interestingly, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav had recently met him in Srinagar. However, the outcome of the meeting was unknown.

Lone's party has significant presence in five Assembly seats in  Kupwara district.

Son of the slain Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Gani Lone, Sajad had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Before entering the election arena, Lone was part of the Mirwaiz-led faction of the Hurriyat Conference.

Jammu & Kashmir Assembly has 87 seats and will witness five phase elections starting from November 25.

Polling in the hilly state will take place on November 25 for phase 1, December 2 for phase 2, December 9 for phase 3, December 14 for phase 4 and December 20 for phase 5.

Counting of votes for all the five phases will be held on December 23.

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