Modi hits out at development critics in Gujarat

Modi hits out at development critics in Gujarat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday took an indirect dig at the detractors of development in poll-bound Gujarat, which has in the recent past seen a spate of vikas gando thayo chhe (vikas/development has gone berserk) memes and messages going viral on social media.

“Did you ever dream of an airport, least of all an international airport in Surendranagar? Should an airport come up or not? Do you want such development or not,” the prime minister asked a massive audience at Chotila.

As the crowd replied in the affirmative and began shouting often-repeated chants of ‘Modi, Modi...”, “shabash” (well done), shot back the prime minister.

Modi was at Chotila near Rajkot, the political hub of Saurashtra, to lay the foundation stone for a Rs 2,500-crore international airport.

Modi chose to attack the Opposition in Chotila as it was there that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had last week asked the locals: “What has happened to vikas (development) in Gujarat?”, and the crowd had retorted: gando thayo chhe (has gone berserk).

Modi said the definition of development had changed in the state since the BJP took over the reins in 1995.

“Earlier, they used to take credit even for installing a hand pump at a well. Today, you have a government that has put up a big pipeline to provide water from the Narmada,” he said.

Later in the evening, while dedicating a functional, but relatively new campus of IIT Gandhinagar to the nation, Modi said that he would have been criticised for allocating 400 acres for the development of an IIT campus.

“If it was election time and I had decided to give prime land, that too on the banks of river Sabarmati, some people would have gone to town, the way they are doing about the bullet train, saying that instead of repairing dilapidated primary school buildings Modi wants to build IITs,” he said.

Talking to the IIT students, Modi said like Mahatma Gandhi gave the Quit India call in 1942 and saw Britishers leave India within five years, Indians must now take another vow.

“In 2022, when we complete 75 years of Independence, if we all decide, we can remove poverty, casteism and nepotism from our country...five years from now,” Modi said.

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