After his karma-bhoomi Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now turned his attention towards his janma-bhoomi Gujarat. The PM has launched several big-ticket projects, worth Rs 1,100 crore, in his home state Gujarat via video conferencing.
The projects include the redeveloped Gandhinagar railway station – one of the first to be completed under the ambitious scheme of Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited – and a luxury 5-star hotel built atop the station. Visiting his constituency Varanasi yesterday, the Prime Minister had inaugurated and laid foundation stones of projects worth Rs 1,600 crore.
Both the states are headed for elections next year – UP early in 2022 and Gujarat towards the latter half – and are likely to remain top priority for the BJP. The project inauguration spree by PM Modi today follows home minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state on July 12. Shah represents Ghandhinagar constituency in Lok Sabha and sources say, he personally oversaw all the arrangements for the inauguration of the projects by the PM.
While UP, the most populous state, remains politically most crucial for the BJP, Gujarat is equally important for personal reasons. Modi is considered as the most successful chief minister that Gujarat ever had, and also among the most dynamic that the country has seen. “A defeat in Gujarat will really hurt the BJP. And especially after the scare that the Congress gave the BJP in the last elections, the BJP cannot afford to take its eyes off the ball where Gujarat is concerned,” says a party general secretary.
In the 2017 elections, BJP had failed to reach the 100 mark in the 182-seat assembly. It had won with a thin majority of seven seats, winning 99 seats with Congress winning 77 seats.
Sources in the BJP tell Outlook that more visits by senior party leaders are expected in Gujarat in the coming months. The other projects to be inaugurated by the PM include the newly-electrified Surendranagar-Pipavav section, and the gauge converted cum electrified Mahesana-Varetha line. He will also flag off two new trains -- Gandhinagar Capital-Varanasi Superfast Express and Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) service trains between Gandhinagar Capital and Varetha.
The highlight remains the swanky hotel, built at a cost of Rs 790 crore, to be run by the Leela group.