Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday arrived to address his maiden election rally in Kashmir amid unprecedented security cover.
“Atal Bihari Vajpayee made a beginning… it’s my duty to carry his legacy forward. I will try my best to bring acche din (good days) to you,” Mr. Modi, dressed in a traditional Kashmiri Phiran, said at Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir cricket stadium.
“Give me a chance, I will end corruption here,” he added.
As he quoted from the former prime minister’s speech in 2003 – from the same venue – PM Modi also claimed, in what was seen as a slip, that it was the “first time since 1983” that anyone had dared to address a rally at the Sher-i-Kashmir stadium.
On his sixth visit to the state since taking charge, the Prime Minister addressed two rallies on Monday – in Samba in Jammu and Srinagar – while campaigning for staggered state polls. The third round of voting will be held on Tuesday and results will be declared on December 23.
“I will give back your love with interest, I will give you development,” he said in Samba, where he paid tribute to Kashmiris for “defeating the bullet with the ballot.”
PM Modi deplored a series of terror attacks on Friday that killed 13 people, including eight soldiers, three police officers and one civilian.
“Our soldiers have sacrificed their lives to safeguard democracy,” he said in Samba. “Now you must vote to safeguard their sacrifices.”
At the same time, he credited his own government for action against army men responsible for killing two teenagers in Budgam recently.
“For the first time in 30 years, the Army admitted its mistake. This is the Modi government’s doing. An inquiry commission probed the matter and those who fired the bullets were charged. This is proof of my good intentions. I have come to provide justice to you,” PM Modi said.