Prime Minister Narendra Modi today received a rousing reception here as he embarked on an 11-kilometre-long roadshow in this stronghold of Patel community.
The roadshow turned out to be a mega outreach for Modi in the election year as the BJP has decided to project him as its face during the state assembly polls, slated later this year.
Modi began his two-day Gujarat visit with the roadshow after arriving here this evening. This is his first visit to the city after becoming the Prime Minister in 2014.
People, waving the tricolour and chanting "Bharat Mata Ki Jai", stood along his route as Modi greeted them, standing through the sunroof of his vehicle.
Upon his arrival at the Surat airport, he was greeted by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other state leaders before Modi started on 11-km-long journey to the Government Circuit House in Athwalines area where he would stay for the night.
The state BJP left no stone unturned to accord a grand welcome to Modi, as this is his first visit to his home state after the party's impressive showing in the state assembly polls, including Uttar Pradesh.
Surat has a sizable population of the Patel community and had witnessed a large-scale violence during the quota agitation in 2015.
The Prime Minister was welcomed by various community organisations, youth and women at 'Swagat Points' set up every 200 metres.
An 11-km-long 'saree', with the names of government schemes printed on it, was tied along the route.
Modi's convoy was led by 50,000 young men and women on 25,000 bikes. A 22-feet-high cutout of Modi stood near the airport where people could take selfies.
Along the route, sand sculptures on some of the themes of the Modi government like "Save Girl Child", "Girl Child Education", "Digital India", were also put up.
This is Modi's second visit to his home state this year.
Expressing excitement over his visit, Modi tweeted: "My gratitude to all those who are participating in the various programmes. Visiting the vibrant city of Surat is a matter of great joy.
My gratitude to all those who are participating in the various programmes. Visiting the vibrant city of Surat is a matter of great joy.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 16, 2017
Earlier, on March 8, he had visited Gandhinagar to address the women sarpanchs from across the country on the International Women's Day.
Gujarat: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's roadshow concludes as he reaches Circuit House in Surat pic.twitter.com/LnPYf63VhG— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2017
* People welcoming PM Modi by lighting their mobile phone in Surat.
People switch on their mobile flashlights as Prime Minister Narendra Modi proceeds with his roadshow in Surat, Gujarat. pic.twitter.com/nppQfKPVzQ— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2017
* Prime Minister Narendra Modi's road show continues in Surat, Gujarat; a bikers rally escorting him to the circuit house.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Surat, Gujarat for a roadshow in the city. pic.twitter.com/9IfTFtx6Lv— ANI (@ANI) April 16, 2017