(PTI Photo/S Irfan)
(PTI Photo/S Irfan)

Mumbai: Ahead of the Lok Sabha (LS) polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will tour two districts of Maharashtra on February 16, to conduct bhoomipujans for various projects. The Opposition is seeing it as an attempt to woo voters.

At the beginning, Modi is expected to lay the foundation stone for the Malegaon-Dhule-Indore railway line. There is no rail route between Dhule (north Maharashtra) to Indore (Madhya Pradesh). It will reduce the distance and travel time between Mumbai and Delhi, which currently passes via Ratlam.

A detailed project report (DPR) is yet to be finalised and no work has been initiated in the project, yet Modi is being called to perform a bhumipujan. BJP leaders believe it is to ensure Subhash Bhamre, the party’s sitting MP and Union minister of state for defence will get a ticket.

During his one-day tour, Modi will also address a rally in Yavatmal at Pandharkawada, a district which has been witnessing rising number of farmers’ suicides. He is expected to distribute a ‘revolving fund’ of `15,000 to every Women’s Self-Help Group (SHG) under the Umed scheme.  “The scheme is part of the Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission, under which, every SHG will be given soft loans at two percent interest rate, to run a small business,” said R Vimla, chief executive officer of the mission.

Modi will lay the foundation stone of `2,400 crore Sulwade-Jamfal lift irrigation project on the Tapti river in Shindkheda, Dhule. Shindkheda is the home constituency of Jaykumar Rawal, the minister of tourism in the Fadnavis cabinet. The lift irrigation will benefit thousands of farmers from Dhule, Shirpur and Shindkheda tehsil.

The PM will also inaugarate a multi-storey Dhule Cancer Hospital, expected to be the biggest in the region. Meanwhile, the Union government allocated just `100 crore for the 352-km-long Manmad-Indore railway line project, estimated to be pegged at `8,574.79 crore.

In the Dhule LS constituency, the probable contest is expected between Bhamre of the BJP and Rohidas Patil of the Congress. Patil is a former minister and a four-time legislator from Dhule (rural) assembly constituency. Modi’s public rally in Dhule will prove a booster dose for party workers from four adjacent districts in north Maharashtra — Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar and Jalgaon.

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Free Press Journal