At the launch of first Vande Bharat train starting from Rajasthan, in a move that could surprise both Congress and BJP leaders, praised Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot for 'taking out time during political crisis'. The video of the PM's comments is now going viral on social media.
Before making those comments, accusing the previous governments of politicising the Indian Railways, PM Narendra Modi said that railways heaved a sigh of relief with a stable government in the centre.
Addressing the flagging-off ceremony of Rajasthan’s first Vande Bharat Express train between Ajmer to Delhi Cantt, PM Modi said: "India inherited a fairly big railway network at the time of Independence but political interest dominated the need for modernization in the years after independence. Politics was evident in the selection of the railway minister, the announcement of trains, and even in recruitment. Land acquisition was done under the pretense of railway jobs and many unmanned crossings continued for a very long time and cleanliness and safety took a back seat. The situation took a turn for the better after 2014 when people elected a stable government with a full majority."
PM Modi praises 'friend' CM Gehlot
“When the pressure of political give and take receded, railway heaved a sigh of relief and sprinted to new heights,” he said.
At the end of his 17-minute speech, Modi, describing Rajasthan Chief Minister Gehlot as a friend, said- "I express my special gratitude to Gehlot ji that these days he is going through crises on the political front, despite that, he took time out for development work and participated in the railway program."
He said, "I am grateful that you showed faith in me for completing the works which were pending since independence. This is the strength of our friendship."
Vande Bharat will give push to tourism in Rajasthan: PM Modi
The PM said that this Vande Bharat train will not only ease the travel between Jaipur and Delhi but will also give a push to the tourism industry of Rajasthan as it will help the access to places of faith like Theerthraj Pushkar and Ajmer Sharif.
The Prime Minister highlighted the One Station One Product campaign and said that Indian Railways has made another effort over the years in taking the local products of Rajasthan across the country. He pointed out that Indian Railways has set up around 70 One Station One Product Stalls including Rajasthan Jaipuri quilts, Sanganeri block print bed sheets, rose products, and other handicrafts that are being sold in these stalls.
More about Ajmer-Delhi Vande Bharat Train
The regular service of this Vande Bharat Express will start on 13th April and will operate between Ajmer and Delhi Cantt with stops at Jaipur, Alwar, and Gurgaon.
The new Vande Bharat Express will cover the distance between Delhi Cantt. and Ajmer in 5 hours and 15 minutes. The present fastest train in the same route, Shatabdi Express, takes 6 hours 15 minutes from Delhi Cantt. to Ajmer. Thus, the new Vande Bharat Express will be faster by 60 minutes as compared to the present fastest train running on the same route.
Ajmer-Delhi Cantt. Vande Bharat Express will be the world's first semi-high-speed passenger train on high-rise overhead electric (OHE) territory.
Earlier in the program held at Jaipur Junction, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that this is the first time after independence that the country's Railway Minister is from Rajasthan. He said that it is a matter of happiness, so I appeal to him that Banswara, Tonk, and Karauli districts should be connected to the rail network as soon as possible.
Ashok Gehlot hits back at PM
The Chief Minister of Rajasthan expressed disappointment over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks on the development of Indian Railways by previous ministers. According to Gehlot, it was regrettable that the Prime Minister referred to decisions made by Railways Ministers before 2014 as being "corrupt" and "politically motivated." The Chief Minister then proceeded to name multiple Railways Ministers to criticize PM Modi for his comments, which were made on Wednesday during the inauguration of the first Vande Bharat Express train in Rajasthan.
Gehlot responded to PM Modi's claim that previous Rail Ministers had not made any progress in the country's railway development by naming Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jagjeevan Ram, Madhavrav Scindia, Janeshwar Mishra, Mamata Banerjee, Mallikarjung Kharge, and others. He emphasized that it was regrettable for the Prime Minister to describe the work and decisions of all Rail Ministers before his government as "corrupt and politically motivated."
Gehlot criticized PM Modi for downplaying the significance of Indian railways by eliminating the separate Railways Budget. He asserted that it was inaccurate to suggest that railway development only occurred after 2014 and stated, "If you are able to operate a high-tech train, it is due to the liberalization that Manmohan Singh introduced in 1991."
According to Gehlot, PM Modi's speech was focused on the upcoming 2023-2024 elections and was heavily influenced by the BJP's agenda. Gehlot expressed his opinion that these remarks may not be well-received by the people of the country.