Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday kicked off his two-day whirlwind tour of poll-bound Gujarat advocating a “double engine government” (of the same party at the Centre and State), as he inaugurated and laid foundation stone of development works worth Rs 5,200 crore in Bhavnagar and Rs 3,400 crore in Surat.
Simultaneously, the opposition Congress demanded an explanation from him and the BJP with a strong video statement by Rajya Sabha member and a national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil, who hails from Bhavnagar, who reminded him date-wise about each of the “tall promises” he made as the Chief Minister and Prime Minister but “nothing has been implemented so far.”
Gohil asserted, “You are not BJP’s PM, you are the country’s PM, you are my PM, I am the citizen of India. I welcome you to my hometown Bhavnagar, but please let the people know why not a brick has been laid about all the big announcements you made.”
Modi landed first in Surat, a challenging region for the BJP in the upcoming elections after the entry of the AAP in the race for 12 seats in the city, and held a 2.5-km roadshow thronged by huge crowds cheering him.
Speaking at an event to lay the foundation stone and dedicate development works worth Rs 3,400 crore in the diamond city’s Limbayat area, the Prime Minister said, “After having a 'Double Engine Government', it has become easy to build homes for the poor and middle class besides creating a host of facilities without any hiccups.”
He said it was only because of a double engine government that approvals came quickly and development work could progress faster since both (Centre and State) would be on the same page.
Modi went on to list the developmental schemes initiated by his government at the Centre and gave details of those who benefitted from those initiatives in Surat.
Harping on the double engine theme, the Prime Minister said, “They (the Gujarat Government) got tired of telling the previous government at the Centre the need for an airport in Surat. Same was the case with the metro."
Attributing Surat’s turnaround after facing several natural calamities to the people of Surat, Modi said, “Surat is an inspiration for progress. It respects hard work and recognises talent, and all growth aspirations of the people are fulfilled here.”
He struck a warm note with the masses as he addressed them as ‘Surti Lalas’, as the people here are fondly called because of their happy-go-lucky demeanour and the city is known for its food. Modi said he always looked forward to visiting Surat for its food, “but this time because of the Navratri fast, I have to return without eating here.”
The Prime Minister said the same thing about the famous snack in Bhavnagar called ‘ganthiyas’ and added that anyone leaving Bhavnagar without having ‘ganthiyas’ would miss something, but he would have to give it a pass since he was fasting.
At Bhavnagar, Modi laid the foundation stone for the “world’s first CNG terminal” and a brownfield port in the city. The port, which is expected to be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 4,000 crore, will have the state-of-the-art infrastructure for the CNG terminal, an ultra-modern container terminal, multipurpose terminal, and liquid terminal with direct door-step connectivity to the existing roadway and railway network.
The Prime Minister inaugurated a Rs 100 crore regional science centre in Bhavnagar spread over 20 acres. It has several theme-based galleries, including a marine aquatic gallery, automobile gallery and the Nobel Prize gallery.
Modi also threw open the 36th National Games at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad in the evening and took part in a State Government-organised garba programme at the GMDC Grounds in the city.