Drought trips Modi's Japan jaunt

While he is still basking in the glory of all the attention in Japan, back home, a looming drought and fuming discontent among the farmers washed away all the achievements that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi wanted to brandish before his electorate.

While a contingent of high-level officials and industrialists were supposed to brief the media on the high profile four-day Japan trip of the chief minister, the attempted media interaction was thrown into complete disarray after a group of workers from the Opposition Congress women’s wing and cooperative bodies, who had entered the venue in the guise of journalists broke into sloganeering. The group also carried placards decrying Modi for being “anti-farmer”, “pro-industrialist”, benefiting only the industrialists and not the people.

Raising loud slogans seeking water and fodder for the farmers, the demonstrators forced the industrialists and the officials to abort the interaction midway and leave the venue as the few security personnel failed to control the situation.

In the brief statements that the industrialists could make, Parimal Nathwani, Group President, Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) and a Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, pointed out that Modi was received like a prime minister in Japan. “The Japanese believe in his leadership, and I believe they would invest in Gujarat in a big way,” Nathwani said, fanning Modi’s prime ministerial ambition.

‘More investment’

The “highly successful visit” was lauded by a few other speakers as well, who however refrained from substantiating the success with adequate specifics.

Interacting with the media outside the venue, Maheshwar Sahu, Principal Secretary (Industries), later claimed that the Japanese were likely to set up a township near the Becharaji temple, about 100 km from Ahmedabad.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) has already been allotted 700 acres of land to set up a new manufacturing plant. Meanwhile, with a drought-like situation emerging in the state, Modi huddled with his officials in an urgent meeting on Saturday to take stock of the fodder and water situation in the state.

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