Ex-Kashmiri separatist Sajjad Lone meets PM Modi, says he has 'down-to-earth personality'
Former separatist and People's Conference leader Sajjad Lone on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
New Delhi: Former separatist and People's Conference leader Sajjad Lone on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which the two are believed to have discussed the possibility of his working with BJP after the Assembly elections 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.
Monday'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 JP Nadda (now Union Health minister) and Madhav. He said "I have discussed only Kashmir problems with the Prime Minister. He apprised me of his vision about smart city project for the Valley and I requested for additional relief and rehabilitation for the flood-hit people in the state."
Asked whether there was a discussion on post-poll alliance, Lone said "let the results come out. Our party is not averse to having an alliance with anyone for we don't believe that party 'A' is good and party 'B' is bad."
Chowdhury Mohammed Ramzan, however, said Lone was synonymous with "political opportunity" and wondered where he was during the September deluge.
"Sajjad and his brother Bilal are only interested in self-gain rather than worry about the people of the state," Ramzan said over phone while reacting to the meeting between Lone and the Prime Minister.
"This political opportunism will be defeated by the people of Kupwara," Ramzan said.
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