Amit Shah

After meeting various delegations ahead of the crucial Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri Parliamentary seats, Union Home Minister Amit Shah wrapped up his short visit to the Kashmir Valley on Friday morning.

Union Home Minister reached Srinagar on Thursday evening and interacted with various delegations including senior leaders of the BJP during his stay in Srinagar.

Despite the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir, there was no official confirmation of any meetings with mainstream political leaders from the region during his stay.

Although BJP leadership termed the Union Home Minister's visit as "non-political", his interactions with delegations of the members of the ethnic Pahari community and Gujjars and Bakerwals attached importance.

As per reports, several delegations representing various communities met with the Home Minister in Kashmir. The meetings, which lasted for several hours, addressed important concerns and demands.

Pahari leader
A delegation of Pahari leaders led by BJP leader Vibodh Gupta meets Amit Shah (file picture)BJP media cell

Led by Abdul Majeed Zindadil, the Pahari delegation expressed gratitude for the recently granted Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. They also requested the construction of the Sadna tunnel to ensure year-round connectivity between Tanghdar and Kashmir.

The Pahari delegation pledged full support to the BJP and vowed to follow the Home Minister's guidance. However, they expressed disappointment over the BJP not fielding a candidate in Kashmir.

Another leader, Mohammad Younus Khan, revealed that the Home Minister advised them not to vote for dynasties like the NC, PDP, and Congress. Instead, they were encouraged to vote for other candidates.

The Sikh community, represented by Damodar Singh, raised concerns about youth unemployment. They advocated for the inclusion of their language in universities to preserve their cultural heritage. Additionally, they highlighted the lack of reservation for Sikhs in jobs and the Assembly.
Overall, these meetings provided a platform for community leaders to voice their issues and seek solutions from the Home Minister.

Sunil Sharma
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Visit was non-political: BJP

However, Sunil Sharma, general secretary of the J&K unit of BJP said that Shah's visit was not politically motivated.

"The Home Minister was in Srinagar to review security measures aimed at increasing voter turnout and fostering peace. There is no political agenda, though BJP workers met him to discuss organizational matters," Sharma said.
While local BJP leaders indicated that Shah would conduct a review of the security situation in preparation for both the elections and the upcoming Amarnath Yatra, which runs from June 29 to August 19, no official statement was issued on the matter.
The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir may also see assembly elections after the conclusion of the Amarnath Yatra, following a Supreme Court mandate for the Centre to hold these polls by September 30.
Voting on Baramulla, Anantnag seats will be held on May 20 and May 25 respectively

Polling for the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency of north Kashmir will be held on May 20. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Peoples' Conference chief Sajad Lone, and former MLA Engineer Rashid are contesting for this seat.
Paharis and Gujjar-Bakerwals are the deciding factors in this seat of north Kashmir.

Anantnag-Rajouri constituency is scheduled for May 25 after it was deferred from its earlier schedule of May 7 due to bad weather.

Former Chief Minister and Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti is contesting elections on this seat where the National Conference has fielded veteran Gujjar leader Mian Altaf and the Apni Party candidate is a prominent Pahari leader Zaffar Iqbal Manhas.