UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will lay the foundation stone of the big-ticket Rishikesh-Karanprayag rail link project on Wednesday even as the event threatens to acquire political overtones ahead of next year's assembly elections in Uttarakhand.
A day before Gandhi, who is also Congress president, arrives in Gauchar in Chamoli district to launch the Rs 4,295.30 crore project to construct the 125-km link, Uttarakhand chief minister BC Khanduri said the inauguration of the project by her was a "violation of constitutional norms".
Speaking to media in Dehradun, Khanduri asked: "In which capacity is she going to lay the foundation stone?"
"It is not a Congress project," said the chief minister, who is a BJP member, insisting that the Centre ought to have taken the Uttarakhand government on board.
"Ideally the railway ministry should have invited the PM to do the honors," he said.
Railways minister Dinesh Trivedi and two ministers of state for railways Bharatsinh Solanki and KH Muniyappa will be present at Gauchar for the foundation-laying ceremony.
Congress leaders have criticised the BJP for creating a controversy over this.
"Some people in the BJP are trying to create controversy over the project, which in turn has angered the people of the hill state," state Congress leader Indira Hridayesh said in a statement from Dehradun.
Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal told Hindustan Times at Gaucher the final location survey for the project would take eight months.