No one has the right to raise fingers at EC: PM Modi hits out at opposition

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EC has faced criticism for not announcing dates for Gujarat elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the first phase of the roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) ferry service connecting Saurashtra with south Gujarat, amid a political row over the delay in announcement of poll dates for the state.

In a rally in Vadodara, PM also attacked opposition for not declaring the dates of Gujarat Elections so far. Dates for Himachal election has been declared but EC has only said that polling process for Gujarat will be finished by December 18

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Diwali mein Vadodara kyun aya hun is par logon ko pet mein dard hai. Mujhe toh kuch keh nahi sakte isliye EC par dabaav bana rahe hain: PM

Diwali mein Vadodara kyun aya hun is par logon ko pet mein dard hai. Mujhe toh kuch keh nahi sakte isliye EC par dabaav bana rahe hain: PM pic.twitter.com/BU3CyKnTnq

Lekin main unko kehna chahta hun ki unko Election Commission par ungli uthane ka koi hakk nahi hai: PM Modi in Vadodara

It roughly translates to PM Modi saying,” Some people have problem with me coming to Vadodara in Diwali. They can’t take me on, hence they are putting pressure on Election Commission”. Modi went on to say that they have no right to raise fingers at the EC.

Congress has attacked EC for not announcing the dates for Gujarat polls with even P Chidambaram saying the polling body has given the task of announcing the date to PM. DMK too have criticised EC for not announcing the dates. The model code of conduct will come in place as soon as the poll dates are announced.

While launching his “dream project”, Modi blamed the previous UPA government for delaying the venture by creating hurdles in the name of environment. Modi, who is visiting the state for the third time this month, also took the first trip in the ferry from Ghogha to Dahej with 100 visually-impaired children from Bhavnagar.

“This is the first of its kind project not only in India, but also in South-East Asia,” Modi said at a rally here, which comes ahead of the Assembly polls in the state. The Congress had alleged that the government put “pressure” on the Election Commission to “delay” the announcement of Gujarat elections to enable the prime minister to offer sops to the state. “This is also a unique project as the state government has used the latest technology to make this ferry service possible,” said Modi, who had earlier termed it his “dream project”.

“I had laid the foundation stone for the project in 2012, but for doing work in the ocean, you had to remain dependent on the central government then. There were such people in the central government that they had put a ban on development from Vapi to Mandvi in Kutch along coastal Gujarat,” he said. “All over, industries were threatened to be closed down in the name of environment. I know how many challenges I had faced for the development of Gujarat,” he said attacking the Congress-led UPA government.

Hailing the project as a “precious gift to the country from Ghogha”, Modi blamed the erstwhile UPA government for ignoring the shipping and port sector. “In the past decades, shipping and port sectors were ignored. To modernise the sector, the government has begun Sagarmala programme…,” Modi said.

“Had they (the Congress-led UPA government) understood the power of the ocean, the people in this region would not have been forced to leave their homes for work in other cities,” he said. The first phase of the project connects Ghogha of Bhavnagar district in Saurashtra region to Dahej of Bharuch district in south Gujarat. In the first phase which was inaugurated by Modi, only passengers can travel, while in the second phase which will start after two months, light vehicles such as cars can be ferried. While in the third phase, heavy vehicles such as trucks can also be taken in the ferry.

Modi said the project will be extended up to Hazira in Surat district, and similar projects will also be launched in the Gulf of Kutch. “The ferry can take more than 100 trucks at one time, and with such a huge number of vehicles going off the road, it will impact the road connecting Delhi and Mumbai. The number of vehicles on Gujarat’s industrialised zone will reduce, the speed of vehicles will increase and this will take the economic system in top gear,” Modi said.

The service reduces the distance between the two towns from 310 km by road to 30 km, which can be covered in one hour. To start with, two ships — M V Jay Sophia and Island Jed — can take 300 and 239 passengers, including crew members respectively, the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) said. Modi had recently said that the Assembly polls in the state will be a battle between “vikaswad” and “vanshwad”, in which his “development agenda” will triumph over the Congress’s “dynastic politics”.

He had earlier visited poll-bound Gujarat last Monday when he addressed his party workers at a rally in Gandhinagar. Prior to that, on October 8, Modi visited his home town Vadnagar. He also inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of various projects in Rajkot, Vadnagar, Gandhinagar and Bharuch.

With PTI inputs