Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to spend Diwali with the flood-affected Kashmiri people may seem as a gesture aimed at touching hearts. But in reality,  it was a simple attempt to woo voters ahead of the approaching state elections, Bharatiya Janata Party insiders said.

During his visit, the prime minister announced a relief package of Rs 570 crore for building homes destroyed in the floods. Another Rs 175 crore has also been sanctioned for renovating hospitals and medical facilities destroyed by the floods.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister tweeted: "Will be in Srinagar on Diwali, 23d October & will spend the day with our sisters & brothers affected by the unfortunate floods."

But a BJP official said that this was a strategic move by Modi ahead of state elections.  “The visit is not only aimed to comfort the Muslim population but is also meant to show the Hindu population in Jammu that the state will not be neglected,” the official added.

Separatist leaders such as Syed Ali Shah Geelani had called for a total boycott to Modi's visit. “Diwali in the Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir is nothing but cultural aggression on the part of Modi,” Geelani told the Hindustan Times. "His stay in Kashmir on Diwali is nothing but an election stunt. India wants to show the world that they are with flood-hit Kashmiris. It is ridiculous."

However, Bharatiya Janata Party leaders denied this. “The people of Jammu and Kashmir will now see it clearly that who are standing with them at the time of distress," a senior leader said. "Separatist leaders are criticising because if the state develops, their agenda of an independent Kashmir will be lost.”

Riding on the massive victories in Maharastra and Haryana, the BJP is now hoping to become the largest party in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time, if it fails to get a majority. There are a total of 87 assembly seats in the state, out of which the right wing party is hoping to win at least 30 in Jammu, three in Ladakh and 11 elsewhere in the state, including Kashmir, said the senior party leader.