Gujarat election 2017: Notwithstanding persistent attacks from the opposition over ‘vikas’ in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving no stone unturned to showcase Gujarat as a one of its kind state in India – prosperous and flying high – and also win the assembly elections. On Tuesday, Modi took seaplane flight from Sabarmati riverfront after he was denied permission for roadshow ahead of the second phase polls. This was unique in many ways as seaplane took flight for the first time in India, and that too on the Sabarmati riverfront which was developed by Modi when he served the state as Chief Minister.
“This is the first such experiment in Hindustan. It is an experiment to strengthen tourism in future. Actually, BJP party wanted me to do a roadshow tomorrow (Tuesday). But, the administration has not given permission. And I have time, so I decided to take blessings of Ma Amba. I have not visited Ma Amba after becoming Prime Minister, and therefore I want to go there tomorrow. So, this experiment of sea-plane will also with the blessings of Ma Amba,” Modi had said at a poll meeting at Sabarmati riverfront.
In October, Modi inaugurated India’s first roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ferry services in Gujarat. Critics claimed such service is available in other parts of the country as well. However, the one in Gujarat is the biggest facility of its kind that can change the way people travel in the state. It will dramatically reduce travel time between Saurashtra region and southern parts of the state.
The state remains highly ranked in all development indicators. In comparison to other states, Gujarat has surprisingly grown at around 10 percent per year in the last five years. However, the Opposition is not convinced by BJP government and Modi. The Congress party, now led by Rahul Gandhi, had started its election campaign mocking development in Gujarat with a slogan ‘Vikas has gone crazy’. BJP and Modi responded to ‘Vikas has gone crazy’ claim by connecting it with the issue of Gujarati ‘Asmita’ and came up with a slogan – ‘I am Vikas, I am Gujarat’.
Not just by presenting spectacles like Ro-Ro ferries, seaplane and talking about many development achievements of BJP government, Modi has not compromised a bit on the campaign trail while taking on the opposition.
This is not the first time when election campaign in the state has turned vicious – both BJP and Congress are to be blamed. Campaigns in the past were no different, with free flow of jibes and accusations. This year, Modi has been accused of setting a dangerous precedent by accusing former PM Manmohan Singh of participating in a “secret” meeting with Pakistani envoy to discuss Gujarat elections. “Fearing imminent defeat in Gujarat, desperation of Prime Minister to hurl every abuse and latch on to every straw is palpable. Sadly& regrettably, Sh Modi is setting a dangerous precedent by his insatiable desire to tarnish every constitutional office, including that of a Former Prime Minister and Army Chief,” Singh had said in his reaction to Modi’s accusation.