Visiting poll-bound Maharashtra for a second time in less than a week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today gifted the state a clutch of infrastructure projects including a metro for Nagpur as he reaffirmed his government's commitment to development and rooting out graft.
Just a day after the Union Cabinet cleared a Rs 8,860 crore metro project for Nagpur, state's second after Mumbai, Modi laid its foundation in senior BJP leader and Union Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari's constituency.
Apart from laying the foundation stone for Pardi flyover in Nagpur city, he also dedicated to the nation the 1000 MW Mouda Super Thermal Power Project Stage-1 in pre-election bonanza to the state where BJP-led NDA is seeking to unseat the Congress-NCP government after 15 years.
Though Modi largely avoided making a political speech, the shadow of the upcoming elections appeared to loom large on the events that were boycotted by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan after he was booed at a function in Solapur last Saturday in the presence of Modi, who had then come to inaugurate a national highway project.
Chavan, who had to stop his speech midway amid chants of "Modi! Modi!" by alleged BJP supporters, had yesterday said he would skip today's Nagpur events as "the federal structure of the country has been undermined at the programmes in Congress-ruled states where the PM was present recently."
Modi had on Saturday also laid the foundation of Rs 4000 crore multi-product Special Economic Zone project spread over 277 hectares at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust near Mumbai that would provide employment to 1.5 lakh people.
While Modi made no mention of Chavan in his speech, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu lamented it, saying he would have been happy if he were present and stressed upon the need for the Centre and state governments to work in tandem as "Team India".
The 38.215-km-long Nagpur metro project, scheduled to be completed by March 2018, will be funded on equal sharing basis between the state and the Centre with the latter contributing Rs 1,555 crore as equity and subordinate debt.
In his speeches, both at Mauda and Nagpur, Modi attacked corruption terming it a "disease and sin" and launched a veiled attack on the Congress without naming it.
"Corruption has destroyed the country... For some, it has become a way of life. This disease has to be banished, we have to get rid