Gujarat needs BJP for security and development: Nirmala Sitharaman

Gujarat needs BJP for security and development: Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday that it is important to have continuity of BJP government in Gujarat for security and development of the state.

"Gujarat's development and progress would remain steady if the same government continues. If there is a break in this, Gujarat understands its importance," she said addressing journalists.

The minister who is co- in charge of the BJP state unit was here as part of the party's Mahasampark rally. She went door-to-door in the Maninagar constituency, former constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Ahmedabad earlier in the day.

The minister also invoked the importance of Sir Creek area off Gujarat coast near Gulf of Kutch for the security of the country. "The role of Sir Creek is very important in the defence of India, though every border area is important the terrain of Sir Creek is unique and important for the political and economic security of the border state of Gujarat. Earlier in UPA rule, Gujarat government had no idea about what was happening at the Centre but we openly discuss and take decisions in consultations with the states," she said.

Sir Creek area along the Gujarat-Pakistan border sees a lot of infiltration and several Pakistani boats have been caught from the area. On Friday, BSF caught five Pakistani boats with three Pakistan nationals aboard. The area is a bone of contention between India and Pakistan due to its changing topography. In the past, it had been one of the key political discourse during 2012 Assembly elections.

"In 2012 elections, they (Congress) raised the issue of Sir Creek, whether it would remain with India or not," she said.

On being asked about the status of road connectivity and fencing in the region, as was demanded by BJP government in the state in the past, she said that it was on Modi government's agenda. "The road will be constructed. As for the fencing, there's a lot of technical issues due to sand dunes. Our attention is there. We need to address technicalities and so it is taking time," she added.

The minister also hit out at Congress for its role in Narmada project. "Congress, which was at the Centre earlier and in opposition here in Gujarat, never thought of or worked for the state. They did not do anything for the Narmada. It was done only when Congress was not in the power, during the government of Morarji Desai,  Atal Bihari Vajpayee and now  Narendra Modi," she said.

"Saifuddin Soz, who was a Congress minister, even cast his decisive vote against Narmada project and now I don't understand how can Congressmen move around the state and talk on this issue that is the lifeline of Gujarat."

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