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‘Vikas Gando Thayo Che’: Modi hits back at development critics

Modi sought to negate the campaign by inaugurating a slew of projects worth Rs 10,000 crore during his two-day visit to Gujarat.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2017 20:14 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Rajkot
Vikas Gando Thayo Che,Development has gone crazy,Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicates the newly constructed building of IIT-Gandhinagar to the nation, in Gujarat on Saturday. (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday hit back at social media critics who mocked development under the catchphrase ‘Vikas Gando Thayo Che (Development has gone crazy)’, asking whether setting up an airport near Rajkot was not “development”.

“Has anyone thought of an airport in Surendranagar? Isn’t that called Vikas (development)?” Modi asked a gathering at the ground-breaking ceremony of Rajkot International Airport, as the audience replied “Yes”, and began chanting “Modi, Modi” in affirmation.

‘Vikas has gone crazy’, a social media campaign started by Patidars and picked up by Congress, tries to make fun of the purported failure of development promised by Modi-led BJP before the 2014 general elections.

With the assembly elections coming up in his home state, Gujarat, Modi sought to negate the campaign, and started his two-day visit to the state by inaugurating a slew of projects worth Rs 10,000 crore before the model code takes effective with the announcement of polls, which is likely next week.

Modi reached Rajkot after offering prayers at Dwarikasdeesh temple in Dwarka and addressing a public rally at the pilgrimage place.

Among the projects he launched for the region are a cable-stayed bridge between Dwarka and Bet, an international airport at Rajkot, IIT Gandhinagar campus, a milk processing plant at Chotila and water supply project for Surendranagar.

The region, stronghold of BJP’s traditional vote-bank of Patidars, has 52 of total 182 seats.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had visited the same temple in September and raised issues related to unemployment, farmers’ distress and failed economic policies of the Modi government.

Modi countered the criticism, saying for development and economic growth, one needs vision and will.

“Earlier, one hand pump would be put and used by leader for multiple elections. But, we have changed definition of development now,” he said.

In Gujarat, the BJP constructed good roads after it came to power in 1995, reducing the accident rate, he said and went on to list various development projects carried out by his party in the state in its 22 years of rule.

BJP is facing strong opposition in Gujarat, which has been its bastion for over two decades, especially with the Patidar community demanding reservation in public education and jobs, something the party has not encouraged.

On Saturday, the BJP had made elaborate arrangements for the PM’s rally, with people being brought in state transport buses at the venues hours in advance. The party also ensured an overhead tent for all and decorated a huge stage with flowers.

On Sunday, Modi will preside over inauguration of medical college and hospital in Vadnagar and also visit Bharuch.

From Monday, Rahul Gandhi will be back in Gujarat for a three-day tour, the second leg of his Navsarjan Yatra, aimed at wooing voters in central parts of the state.

First Published: Oct 07, 2017 20:14 IST