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Modi in Gujarat highlights: PM defends note ban and GST, slams Cong over EC row

PM Modi said at a programme in Bhavnagar that the government was working to give the country a transport system of the 21st century that will meet the needs of a ‘New India’.

india Updated: Oct 22, 2017 18:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Gujarat aseembly elections,Prime Minister,Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi felicitated at an event in Gujarat on Sunday.(Photo tweeted by PMO India)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Gujarat on Sunday for the third time this month, as the BJP pulls out all the stops ahead of the assembly elections in the state. While inaugurating and laying foundation stones for a number of projects in Bhavnagar and Vadodara districts, the Prime Minister defended his government’s decision on demonetisation and Goods and Service Tax.

The PM cited data to claim that economy is on the right track and that fundamentals of economy are strong.

At a public meeting in Vadodara, Modi took a dig at the Congress, saying people who have won elections thanks to recounting are questioning the ability of the Election Commission (over Gujarat poll dates).

Here are the highlights:

6:35pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a roadshow in Vadodara.

5:58pm: PM Modi urges people to take part in ‘Run for Unity’ on the occasion of Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31.

5:44pm: The Prime Minister says: “Since I was a child I was hearing about a ferry service from Ghogha to Dahej. It was not done all these years because development was never a priority for them. When we got a chance to serve we focussed on all-round development and the ferry is operational today.”

5:43pm: If you scan the newspapers before May 2014 you will see continuous mentions about the record corruption in various sectors: PM Modi addresses public meeting in Vadodara.

5:35pm: Not a penny of public money will be given to those opposing development, says Modi.

5:33pm: The Prime Minister says development is his government’s focus. “We are clear in our working. All our resources will be spent towards the wellbeing of every citizen.”

5:31pm: Modi takes a dig at Congress, says people who have won elections thanks to recounting are questioning the ability of the Election Commission (over Gujarat poll dates).

5:30pm: The scale of development works being inaugurated in Vadodara today is unprecedented, says PM Modi.

5:25pm: Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting at Vadadora after inaugurating a number of projects and laying foundation stones.

5:18pm: PM Modi lays foundation of housing schemes for 3,000 beneficiaries and hands over symbolic keys.

4:52pm: PM Narendra Modi during his maiden voyage via Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro Ferry Service in Gujarat.

3:25pm: PM Modi ends his speech with chants of “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.

3:17pm: Despite several corrective steps, economy is on the right track, says PM Modi. Underlining data to back his claim, the PM says his government will keep working for the people. The fundamentals of our economy are strong, he says.

3:15pm: PM Modi says his government has brought in a new work culture that makes people accountable, defends demonetisation and GST. The PM says demonetisation unearthed black money and launched a new “swachhta (cleanliness) campaign”. He also says GST ushered in a new culture of business in the country.

He says businessmen will be given a culture where they can trade with honesty. The businessmen who are returning to mainstream can rest assured, PM Modi says, adding no one will bother them by digging up their past.

3:14pm: PM Modi says more and more use of ‘blue economy’ will be the base of a New India. He says the concept can be used in the areas of food security, energy, mining and tourism.

3:12pm: Without proper connectivity, the economic development of a nation slows down. Keeping this in mind we are focusing on ports infrastructure, says PM Modi. He adds his government has worked towards the development of the ports sector.

3:11pm: PM Modi advocates blending economy with ecology (he terms that blue economy). He also talks about water transportation systems to cut down on logistics costs.

3:08pm: Our vision is P for P (ports for prosperity). India needs better ports and more ports, says PM Modi.

2:42pm: PM Modi arrives in Dahej aboard the RO-RO ferry from Ghogha, interacts with schoolchildren on arrival in Dahej.

12:51pm: PM Modi congratulates the gathering again, ends his speech with “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” chant.

12:48pm: The government is working to give the country a transport system of the 21st century that will meet the needs of a ‘New India’, says PM Modi.

12:43pm: Sadly, our transport sector was not integrated enough. We have changed that in the last three years. The goal is to make our transport sector integrated and state of the art, says PM Modi.

12:39pm: PM Modi says plans afoot to expand the ferry service. He says it will not be restricted to one route. “We are planning to link other places also through ferries,” the PM says.

12:31pm: Work on for maritime university and maritime museum in Lothal, PM Modi says. He also stresses the need for development of the local people and the fishermen community.

12:29pm: Gujarat is blessed with a long coastline and we should harness opportunities arising due to this, says PM Modi.

12:26pm: Previous governments at the Centre tried to halt Gujarat’s march, says PM Modi. Gujarat’s industries were threatened, he adds.


12:24pm: Previous central governments made it difficult to launch the ferry service, PM Modi says without naming anyone.

12:20pm: Ghogha-Dahej ferry service will cut short travel time significantly, says PM Modi.

12:19pm: This event is an opportunity to bring back those glorious days, says PM Modi.

12:17pm: Gujarat has history of sea expeditions. Ships were built here, says PM Modi.

12:12pm: I am also here with regard to a project in dairy sector, a sector to which we have given immense importance over the last two decades, @BJP4India quotes the PM as saying.

12:10pm: PM Modi says Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro service is a significant project. He congratulates the state government after launching the first phase.

12:07pm: PM Modi starts speaking amid a thunderous applause. He starts his speech in Gujarat, wishing the state’s residents a happy Gujarati New Year.

12:04pm: PM Modi inaugurates the Ro-Ro ferry service by remote control.

11:47am: CM Rupani takes the stage, addresses the gathering. The CM highlights the growth story of Gujarat.

11:35am: PM Modi takes the dais before launching the Ro-Ro ferry service and other projects in Ghogha.

11:07am: PM Narendra Modi arrives in Bhavnagar. Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani and deputy CM Nitin Patel receive him at the airport.

On Modi’s agenda

The projects that will be launched by Modi include the first phase of the Rs 615-crore ‘roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro)’ ferry service between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district and Dahej in Bharuch in the Gulf of Cambay.

The ferry service will reduce the distance between the two towns from 310 kilometres (by road) to 30km.

Modi will also address a gathering in Ghogha and take a ferry to Dahej from Ghogha. From Dahej, he will leave for Vadodara to inaugurate and lay the foundation stones for projects worth over Rs 1,140 crore.

Vadodara municipal commissioner Vinod Rao said Modi will dedicate to people a Rs 100-crore city command and control centre in Badamadi Garden, Rs 125-crore Janmahal city transport hub and multi-level parking (under PPP), a Rs 160-crore multi-modal city transport hub and a Rs 267 crore waste-to- energy processing plant.

The other projects are a Rs 166-crore water treatment plant, two flyovers worth Rs 265 crore, a Rs 55- crore deer safari park, and a Rs 6-crore veterinary hospital.

He will also address a public meeting at Navlakhi compound in Vadodara.

OBC leader to join Congress

On Saturday, the Congress received a boost with backward class leader Alpesh Thakor announcing his decision to join the party after a meeting with its vice president Rahul Gandhi.

Thakor, the convenor of the Gujarat OBC Ekta Manch and leader of the local Thakor Sena, has considerable influence among backward classes.

Thakor, accompanied by Congress general secretary in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot and state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki, met Gandhi in New Delhi Saturday evening.

Thakor said Gandhi would attend a rally organised by him on October 23 where he would join the Congress.

Earlier in the day, the Congress had invited Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel, Thakor and Jignesh Mevani, a protagonist of Dalit politics, to join the party. The Congress has been out of power in Gujarat for over two decades.

State Congress chief Solanki even promised to give an additional 20% reservation to economically backward classes in the state if the party is voted to power in the upcoming polls. Solanki expressed confidence that the party will easily win over 125 seats in the 182-member House with the “support and blessings” of all these leaders.

But Hardik did not seem very enthusiastic about the Congress’ invitation.

“It is a political stunt, coming as it does just before the elections. I cannot contest elections myself because of constitutional provisions, nor do I want. Since an invitation has been extended, our leaders will consider the proposal,” he told a news channel.

The minimum age for a person to contest an assembly or Lok Sabha election in is 25. Patel is 24.

Hardik aides join BJP

In a win for the BJP, two of his key aides --- Varun Patel and Reshma Patel --- joined the BJP hours after the Congress’s invitation to Hardik to join hands with the party.

Varun and Reshma were among the prominent faces of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and remained critical of the ruling BJP during the agitation.

They joined the BJP after a meeting with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and state party chief Jitu Vaghani during its parliamentary board meeting, which was also attended by BJP president Amit Shah.

After joining the BJP, the Patidar leaders told reporters that Hardik has become a “Congress agent” and was trying to use the agitation to overthrow the present state government.

“Our agitation was about getting reservation under the OBC quota, not about uprooting the BJP and bringing the Congress to power. While the BJP always supported the community and accepted a majority of our demands, Congress is only trying to use Patels as a vote bank. We do not want to be part of such malicious conspiracy,” Reshma Patel said.

Unfazed by the announcement of his key aides, Hardik said in a tweet he that will continue to fight for the people.

“The centipede will continue to run even if some of his legs break. People are with me, and I will continue to fight for them,” he said.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Oct 22, 2017 09:51 IST