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Home Minister wraps up Kashmir visit amid election buzz

Skips formal security review due to Model Code of Conduct
12:37 AM May 18, 2024 IST | SHABIR IBN YUSUF
home minister wraps up kashmir visit amid election buzz

Srinagar, May 17: Union Home Minister Amit Shah concluded his brief visit to Kashmir on Friday morning during which he interacted with several delegations including those from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and local Sikh communities.


Shah, who arrived in Srinagar on Thursday evening amid unprecedented security arrangements, departed for New Delhi on Friday morning.


His visit, coinciding with the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in J&K, sparked speculation about potential meetings with Kashmir-based mainstream political leaders.


However, no official statements were made regarding the Home Minister’s engagements before his departure.


Baramulla is set to go to polls on May 20 while voting for the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency has been rescheduled to May 25 due to bad weather after initially being set for May 7.


BJP’s J&K unit’s General Secretary, Sunil Sharma clarified on Thursday that the Home Minister’s visit was not politically motivated.


“I think the Home Minister is here to review security measures to increase voter turnout and create a peaceful atmosphere. There is no political activity, but BJP workers will meet him to discuss the party’s organisational matters,” Sharma said.


Upon his arrival in Srinagar on Thursday, Shah engaged with various delegations, including BJP leaders from J&K, a Pahari delegation, and a group of local Sikhs.

J&K might witness assembly elections following the Amarnath Yatra, as the Supreme Court has set a deadline of September 30 for the Centre to conduct these polls.

During the meeting, Shah urged them to gear up for Assembly elections and said that BJP would contest all seats in J&K.

Given the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) due to the Lok Sabha elections, Shah did not chair any formal security review meeting during his visit.

“Since the MCC is in force, the Union Home Minister did not conduct any formal security review on Friday,” an official said here.

Shah was received by BJP leaders upon his arrival at the Srinagar International Airport and drove to the Lalit Grand Palace Hotel, which overlooks Dal Lake in Srinagar.

The visit, although brief, underscored the ongoing efforts to engage with local communities and ensure a peaceful and secure environment during the critical election period.