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Just like a leader

In a gesture that is going to augment his position as the supreme leader of the nation, Narendra Modi spent his first Diwali as prime minister with the soldiers of the Indian army posted at the Siachen glacier and later came down to Srinagar to show solidarity with the victims of the recent floods that devastated the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. The move in itself is strategic and Modi’s presence in the terror infiltrated state is going to send across a very positive message though various corridors of power as well as geopolitical galleries. It is appreciable on part of Narendra Modi to have taken this initiative.

Never before has an Indian prime minister taken an initiative as the one Mr Modi has taken. In fact he became the first PM in 10 years now to visit the soldiers in Siachen. The announcement of an additional Rs 745 crore other than the Rs 1000 crore grant already having been doled out from the prime minister’s relief fund may have a couple of detractors but largely this would be seen as an outcome of the many talks and interactions that Mr Modi has had with political personalities, flood survivors and civil society activists for nearly half of the day. The floods which killed almost 300 people and left more than 1.5 crore affected; it is true that there would be hue and cry about the alleged Rs 44,000 crore relief grant that the state government had asked for rehabilitation and rebuilding purposes after the damage that had been done. 

But with the respect that Modi now commands across borders, it would indeed become difficult for the state legislature and the government to heckle and argue over the matter. In fact this visit may also give out the notion that the valley is now returning to balance.  However, there is always more than what meets the eye. One such issue that would quell the separatist voice, most notably that of the JKLF and the Hurriyat Conference in sponsoring a state wide strike is that of the PM visit’s coming amidst ceasefire violations by Pakistan at the international border and that people in large numbers coming to meet the man who seems to have made the world believe that India too is a force to reckon with. However, with the elections due in November, the very decision to visit J&K now, could also be a pre-poll gimmick aimed at glistening ties and ensuring BJP’s presence in a state where it still is a novice.   
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