With the Gujarat Assembly polls on his mind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held roadshows in Surat and Bhavnagar, launched new projects and development works, and reiterated his government’s commitment to serving the people of the country.
Slamming past governments for neglect and listing the works of his governments in Gujarat as well as at the national level since 2014, the Prime Minister in his addresses in Surat and Bhavnagar reminded the people of the State of the benefits of “double engine” governments.
After arriving in ‘diamond city’ Surat on Thursday at noon, Mr. Modi led a 2.5 km long roadshow before addressing a huge gathering of people in the city, calling it a “mini India” since it attracts migrants from across the country.
He talked about the rapid development of the city, which is a hub of diamond cutting and polishing, and textiles, and launched projects worth ₹3,400 crore, including the inauguration of the main entrance gate and phase-1 works of the DREAM City, an ambitious project coming up on 700 hectares of land near Khajod village on the Outer Ring Road of the sprawling city.
“When the DREAM City project is completed, Surat will emerge as the world’s safest and convenient diamond trading hub. The day is not far when Surat will be known as a modern office space for diamond merchants and companies from across the world,” Mr. Modi said.
He mentioned the “attitude” of past governments at the Centre in denying a metro rail project and an international airport for the city, and added how his government at the Centre approved both and as a result, Surat is now connected globally.
After Surat, Mr. Modi flew to Bhavnagar in Saurashtra to launch new projects worth ₹6,000 crore, including a new port and a CNG terminal.
Here too, the PM appeared unsparing in attacking previous governments for not developing coastal areas and not focusing on ports and other infrastructure projects despite the State having the largest coastline in the country.
In Bhavnagar also, the Prime Minister first led a roadshow in the city before launching protests and addressing the crowd.
According to him, no attention was paid to the development of the coastal areas for decades post-Independence, but “honest attempts” were made in the last 20 years by the BJP government to turn them into the country’s “door of prosperity”.
Taking a veiled dig at the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is gaining traction in his home State, Mr. Modi said that, for the BJP, power was meant to serve poor people, and the BJP government carried out development without spending huge money on publicity.
He added that the government in the State implemented big ticket projects in coastal areas of the State without much publicity, while listing several ports, renewable energy projects and refineries dotting the region’s costal belt.
From developing fishing harbours to laying new pipelines to bring Narmada water to remote areas of Saurashtra, the PM talked about how the BJP government had worked to develop the region, which was backward in the past.
The BJP, which is currently in power and has ruled Gujarat since 1998, is putting forth all of its resources to win the seventh consecutive Assembly polls in the state, a record for the saffron party.
The State goes for Assembly polls in November-December this year.
From Bhavnagar, Mr. Modi arrived in Ahmedabad to declare the National Games open at a spectacular ceremony in the Narendra Modi Stadium at Motera in the city.
Subsequently, he attended the Navratri garba festival held at the GMDC ground.
The city has been decorated with posters and hoardings all across to show the importance the 36th National Games, which are being held for the first time in Gujarat.
As one lands at Ahmedabad airport or arrives at the Kalupur Railway Station, big life-size posters and hoardings of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel can be seen welcoming delegates and athletes arriving for the event, which is being held after a gap of seven years.
All major junctions and important crossroads across Ahmedabad and other cities are plastered with giant hoardings and life-size pictures of Mr. Modi and others with the theme of the National Games.
On the eve of the inauguration on Wednesday night, around 600 ‘Made in India’ drones put up a scintillating display over the Sabarmati Riverfront, which has been decorated with lights. The drone show was organised to mark Mr. Modi’s visit to Ahmedabad and also to mark the opening of the National Games.