Want PM Narendra Modi to include Srinagar in 'smart city concept': Ex-separatist leader Sajjad Lone

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New Delhi, Nov 10: As the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are fast approaching, the former separatist leader and People's Conference Chairman Sajjad Lone met PM Narendra Modi at 7 Race Course Road in New Delhi, on Monday, Nov 10.

While talking to media-persons, Sajjad, an important state leader, said that he wants PM to boost tourism and include Srinagar in the smart city concept.

Sajjad also showered praises on Modi by calling him as his 'big brother' and said, "PM wants to take development to next level in Jammu and Kashmir."

Lone maintained after the meeting that he had apprised the Prime Minister as a Kashmiri about the difficulties being faced by the people of the Valley due to the September floods.

"I came as a Kashmiri to meet the Prime Minister and I was pleasantly surprised with his down to earth personality, his vision about bringing in investments into the state," Lone told reporters after a half-an-hour meeting with Modi.

However, sources in the know of the developments claimed the meeting discussed the possible scenario post elections and how People's Conference and BJP can work together.

The meeting with Modi comes after Lone, whose brother Bilal is an executive member of separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference, had consultations with BJP leaders including Ram Madhav.

Lone has decided to revive People's Conference founded by his father Abul Gani Lone, who was killed by Pakistan-based militants, and his party is contesting from 12 seats in Kupwara and Handwara.

After fielding proxy candidates in 2008 elections, Lone had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections but finished at fifth place. He did not contest this year's Lok Sabha elections but fielded a candidate who failed miserably.

BJP, which has launched an ambitious plan for 44-plus for Jammu and Kashmir, is also looking for small parties and independent candidates, especially from the Valley, as allies in a bid to achieve the goal.

Today's meeting, according to state political observers, was one such in the series.

Lone will be fighting against sitting MLA Chowdhury Mohammed Ramzan in Kupwara constituency.

Lone, however, evaded the question whether the meeting was a follow-up of his earlier discussions with BJP leaders including J P Nadda (now Union Health minister) and Madhav.

To fulfill the BJP's "Mission 44", Sajjad is a part of party's poll plan in Jammu and Kashmir.

In his recent cosying upto the BJP, it may be speculated that the post-poll alliance BJP with the People's Conference may be on the cards in Jammu and Kashmir.

"I don't adhere to left and right and Congress is not angelic", he said.

Lone had walked out of Kashmir's main separatist alliance, All Parties Hurriyat Conference, after his father, senior separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone was assassinated by some unidentified gunmen at a rally in Srinagar on May 21, 2002.

The BJP is trying to cash in on the fact that Lone harbours a strong anti-Pakistan feeling.

Elections in 87-assembly Jammu & Kashmir will take place in five phases on November 25, December 2, December 9, December 14 and December 20.

The counting of votes will be take place on December 23.

OneIndia News

(With agency inputs)

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