With the Assembly elections in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s stronghold of Gujarat scheduled for next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made a bold statement by holding a mega roadshow in Rajkot city. The PM, who governed as the Chief Minister of the state for three terms before assuming charge at the Centre, began his roadshow from Aaji dam that culminated at the airport.
The PM is in his home state on a two-day visit. During his stay here, he inaugurated the Sauni Yojna, a project which will fill the Aaji dam near Rajkot with Narmada waters, and attended a host of programmes in different parts of state, including Ahmedabad, Modasa and Gandhinagar.
Gujarat: PM Narendra Modi's roadshow from Public Ground to Airport, begins in Rajkot. pic.twitter.com/aG4Ta3Lhha— ANI (@ANI) June 29, 2017
The visit of the PM is being viewed as the BJP’s show of strength in the state that it has had a strong grip on for the past two decades. However, there were apprehensions of the confidence of the electorate shifting in view of incidents such as the violence against Dalits in Una and the Patidar agitation led by Hardik Patel. Rajkot also has sizeable population of the Patel community which has traditionally been a vote bank for the BJP but is seen as a drifting away over their demands of reservation. The PM’s visit, thus, is being seen as a confidence-building measure among the electorate before the state goes to polls.
It is also believed that the PM’s visit to Gujarat is designed to reach out to farmers ahead of Assembly elections. In Rajkot, the PM attended a programme of distributing various aid and assistive devices to the specially-abled people at Race Course ground in the afternoon.
Setting a world record on distribution of various devices to differently-abled people in the camp here and addressing the beneficiaries at Samajik Adhikarita Camp, Modi said, "The department of social justice and empowerment started the distribution of such devices to 'divyangjans' in 1992. You will be surprised to know that only 55 such programmes were organised from 1992 till 2013. In the three years between 2014 and 2017, our government organised 5,500 such programmes. Just compare 55 with 5,500. It clearly shows the compassion with which our government is functioning."
Modi said a world record was set in the camp held at the Race Course ground, wherein more than 18,000 'divyangjans' were given the aids and helpful devices. "We are setting new world records. Today, we set a world record of distributing aids and devices to around 18,500 divyangjans at one place. I congratulate the Gujarat government and Rajkot district authorities for that."
Modi also urged the youth to come forward for developing new devices for 'divyangs' through their start-up ventures. He reiterated that his government is for the poor and marginalised.
The BJP in Gujarat has drawn up ambitious plans to win 150 of the 182 assembly seats in state elections, emboldened by sweeping victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Codenamed ‘Mission 150’, the plan centres around Modi, who will visit his home state at least once every month till the elections. Earlier in April, Modi had visited Surat and held a mega roadshow, reaffirming his unmatched crowd-pulling ability.