Manas Dasgupta

It is being organised for Narendra Modi's personal propaganda, they say

  • It is an incomplete project: Congress
  • Deshmukh conveys inability to attend

    AHMEDABAD: The former Congress Chief Ministers of Gujarat will boycott Friday's function here to dedicate the hydel power generation unit of the Narmada dam project to the nation.

    Madhavsinh Solanki, Chhabildas Mehta, Shankersinh Waghela (now Union Textile Minister) and Dillip Parikh said it was yet an "incomplete project" and the function was being held only for the "personal propaganda" of Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

    All-BJP ceremony

    With Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh also expressing his inability to attend, it will be an all-BJP ceremony at Kevadiya Colony, site of the Narmada dam. Besides the Chief Ministers of all the four States concerned Mr Modi, Mr. Deshmukh, Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh and Vasundhara Raje Scindia of Rajasthan all former Chief Ministers of Gujarat have been invited as special guests. The former Congress Chief Ministers said the ceremony of dedicating the national project should be performed by the President or the Prime Minister, and not by the Chief Minister of one of the beneficiary States. But Mr. Modi deliberately kept the national leaders away to seek personal propaganda, they alleged. Besides, dedicating an incomplete project was an "insult to the nation."

    Congress' role

    The former Congress Chief Ministers pointed out that when the Narmada project got stuck for want of environment clearance, it was Rajiv Gandhi who took the initiative to get it cleared. And again last year, when the Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar's agitation threatened the project, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh gave the Supreme Court a guarantee of rehabilitation of the displaced people in Madhya Pradesh. Following this, the final clearance for raising the dam height was given.

    Mr. Chhabildas Mehta pointed out that at the present height of 122 metres of the Sardar Sarovar dam, it would not be possible to generate electricity running all six 200-MW units.