Srinagar: BJP leader Narendra Modi's probable rise to the top job in India invokes both hope and uncertainty among people in Jammu and Kashmir.
Whichever way the locals view Modi, nobody doubts that once in power, the Bharatiya Janata Party's icon will face an uphill task carrying the minorities along -- in view of his 2002 Gujarat baggage.
"His biggest challenge will be to convince the minorities, especially the Muslims, that development and progress will be an all-inclusive agenda and not specific to this or that religion," said Bashir Ahmad, 60, a retired senior government officer.
"Given the memories of the Gujarat riots, proving his secular credentials will be the toughest call he will have to take," Ahmad told IANS.
Initially, moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was reported to have said that Modi, like former BJP prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, would help push forward a possible resolution of the Kashmir problem.