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PM Modi’s trips to Gujarat have a lot to do with water and elections

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has toured election-bound Gujarat, his home state, five times this year to inaugurate water-related projects in parched region, where most farmers belong to the Patidar community that has had a fallout with the state BJP government.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2017 00:49 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad
Narendra Modi,Gujarat,Modi in Gujarat
Narendra Modi gives a speech during an event marking the 100th anniversary of Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad on June 29, 2017. (AFP Photo)

Despite his busy schedule that takes him abroad often, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finds time to visit Gujarat. He has visited his home state at least five times this year, mostly to inaugurate water-related projects and schemes.

Assembly elections in Gujarat are due later this year and frequent visits by the prime minister, who was the state’s chief minister for four terms, are on expected lines. But his obsession with water projects has set off political speculations with commentators and critics saying he has taken the ‘water route’ to woo the electorate.

Water is a critical issue, more so in the Saurashtra region comprising nine districts where over 100 dams have dried up in the wake of scanty rains. A majority of the projects that Modi has inaugurated will benefit the region where most farmers belong to the Patidar community that has had a fallout with the state BJP government.

“Narendrabhai has been trying to compensate for 10 years’ of injustice inflicted by the UPA on Gujarat. He comes to inaugurate all these state projects because earlier foundation for same was laid by him,” BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya told HT.

The Congress, however, sees in Modi’s repeated visits an increasing desperation. “The BJP is not confident of winning Gujarat. That is the reason that the PM had to do a roadshow in Rajkot, the constituency of chief minister Vijay Rupani,” pointed out Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil.

But the state BJP sees great positives in Modi’s visits and hopes to reap rich dividends in the polls. “Friends, for the first time in over 40 years, a PM?has visited Rajkot to dedicate a development project. Others in the last four decades visited only for campaigns,” chief minister Rupani told a rally last month.

First Published: Jul 14, 2017 23:57 IST