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No challenges, politically or administratively: Anandiben

india Updated: Jan 05, 2015 10:13 IST
Mahesh Langa
Mahesh Langa
Hindustan Times
Anandiben Patel

Anandiben Patel thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bestowing some well-oiled machinery on Gujarat before he quit the chief minister's post following the BJP's spectacular victory in last year's Lok Sabha polls under his leadership.

"I don't have any challenges, politically or administratively. With Narendrabhai as Prime Minister, everything that is required for the state's development is provided by the Centre," the chief minister told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interview on Sunday. "But I have to ensure that the government delivers on its promises and commitments."

Since taking over as the state's first female chief minister in May 2014, Patel said she had been travelling extensively across Gujarat, reaching out to people and officials at the grassroots.

"Gujarat is known for its infrastructure like roads. But if we build only roads and don't do anything for labourers who work on construction sites, building roads, it's unfair. The government must ensure that they are also included in the process of development," she said.

The chief minister said her aim is to ensure all sectors of the economy are given an equal push so the state can achieve all-round development.

Trying to illustrate her government's commitment towards working for the marginalised sections, Patel said her government has launched a massive drive to keep details of all labourers in the unorganised sector so they can draw the benefits of welfare schemes.

"Around 1.2 crore people work in the unorganised sector in the state - which is approximately 20% of our population. On December 25, I organised a special programme for them in 20 districts to enrol them and ensure that benefits reach them wherever they work," she said.

"Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi also addressed them through videoconferencing from Varanasi," she added.

A chief minister's job draws plenty of bouquets and brickbats, but Patel has officially instructed that people offer her fruits or dry fruits instead of flowers, which are passed on to schools and orphanages in the state every evening, sources said.