On his maiden visit to the state after assuming office, the Prime Minister has a busy schedule encompassing development and security. But what remains understated is that Modi is perhaps the first Prime Minister of the country who is politically opposed by both the separatists and the National Conference (NC).

Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Ahmad Shah, have all called for a complete shutdown on Friday.

However, Geelani had earlier called for ‘peaceful protests’ but later changed his appeal to a complete shutdown across the Kashmir Valley. He said the strike was not against Modi as a person but against the visit of ‘the Prime Minister of a country that has subjugated Kashmiris’.

In a statement made in Ramban district of Jammu region Tuesday, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the Kashmir problem is not one that can be resolved through economic packages. He even cautioned those trying to rake up a controversy over the abrogation of Article 370 that gives special status to the state.

"I have repeatedly and vehemently highlighted that Jammu and Kashmir cannot be equated with other states of India. We cannot be browbeaten by money and muscle power. We have withstood all challenges in the past and will do it again in the future,” Omar said while sending out a signal to New Delhi.

He also spoke about the arrest of his grandfather and National Conference founder Sheikh Muhammad in 1953 and the ouster of his father Farooq Abdullah from power in 1984. Two events in Jammu and Kashmir's history that the National Conference has been blaming the Centre for the alienation of the people here.

Omar seems to have been rattled by two things. First, the drubbing his party received during the Lok Sabha elections in which the National Conference and even its ruling alliance partner the Congress failed to win even a single seat from the state. Second, the fact that the National Conference fears it might face the same plight during the state assembly elections due here in October-November this year.

Modi's problem is not just the opposition by the separatists and the huge challenges of security and development. He has also to address the political concerns of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has already embarked on an ambitious political strategy to get at least ‘five lotuses’ from the Kashmir Valley.

This means that the BJP, which has eleven seats at present in the 87-member state assembly, plans to win at least five seats from the Kashmir Valley during the next elections while aiming to improve its political fortunes in the Jammu region as well.

Given the stiff opposition from the separatists and no-love-lost situation with the ruling National Conference-Congress combine in the state, it is likely that the Prime Minister would abstain from any political overture during his visit to the state on Friday.

"He would inaugurate the 25 kilometre long stretch of the railways from Katra town to Udhampur. Review security at the borders with Pakistan and China and also in the hinterlands at a high level meeting in Srinagar, inaugurate the 240 megawatt hydro-electric power project in the border town of Uri and return to New Delhi the same day," said a source in the state government.


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