Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra ModiIANS

After taking the historic step of granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to the Pahari ethnic community, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will kick-start the campaign for the coming Lok Sabha elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on February 20.

Apart from inaugurating and laying the foundation of 209 projects worth over Rs 3000 crore in the Union Territory, the Prime Minister will address a mega rally at Jammu's Moulana Azad Stadium.

The BJP is also busy in preparations for Prime Minister's rally. Meetings are going on at the local level to bring crowds from other districts including Jammu, Samba, Kathua, and Udhampur.

The prime minister will inaugurate 85 projects and lay the foundation of 124 projects at an event at the M A Stadium in Jammu at 11 am on February 20.

Modi is also scheduled to address a public rally, his second in the region after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019. Earlier on April 24, 2022, he had addressed a rally in Palli Panchayat in Samba district.

The prime minister will inaugurate seven grid stations, three receiving stations, and three transmission line projects in Jammu, Pulwama, Baramulla, Srinagar, Budgam, Ramban, and Samba districts, 12 road projects, and three bridges completed at a cumulative cost of Rs 184.19 crore.

Pahari leader
A delegation of Pahari leaders led by BJP leader Vibodh Gupta meets Amit ShahBJP media cell

BJP focussing on Gujjar-Pahari communities to send a message of unity.

As some sections of the Gujjar and Bakerwal communities have expressed their anger against granting Scheduled Tribe status to the Pahari ethnic community BJP will bring both communities together during Prime Minister's rally.

Gujjar and Bakewal leaders of the BJP have started the mobilization of their community members for the rally.

Pahari leaders, on the other hand, have already started an aggressive campaign among their community to make the Prime Minister's rally historic.

Important to mention here that on February 6, the Lok Sabha passed the much-awaited "Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Schedule Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023".

After the passing of this much-publicized bill, the "Pahari ethnic group," "Paddari Tribe," "Koli," and "Gadda Brahman" communities are included in the Scheduled Tribe List of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The historic bill was introduced in Parliament by Arjun Munda, the Minister of Tribal Affairs, on July 17, 2023.

Narendra Modi
Narendra ModiYouTube

In 2013 Modi started Lok Sabha campaign from the same venue

The Moulana Azad Stadium was the same venue from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was then BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, started the election campaign for Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir by addressing the "Lalkar Rally" on December 1, 2013.

The last public rally addressed by the Prime Minister in J&K was on April 24, 2022, at Palli Panchayat in Samba district.

BJP has two seats in the outgoing Lok Sabha — Jammu-Poonch and Udhampur-Kathua.

This time BJP is eyeing the south Kashmir Lok Sabha seat that has Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu division in addition to Anantnag and Kulgam districts of Kashmir after the new delimitation of constituencies in J&K.

Armed forces

Security tightened in J&K ahead of PM's visit

Security has been heightened in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Jammu next week.

Security arrangements across Jammu and Kashmir have been tightened to ensure there is no untoward incident ahead of February 20 when the Prime Minister arrives.