Narendra Modi on Saturday accused the UPA government of lacking foresight and leaving the National Capital Region under-developed.
Citing the examples of Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Gautam Buddh Nagar and Meerut, Modi said these areas, owing to their proximity to Delhi, could be turned into satellite towns, easing the burden on Delhi.
Speaking at a rally in Baghpat, which is part of the NCR, Modi said, “Look at the stretch from Meerut to Haridwar. Have they (the UPA) ever thought about developing it? Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Meerut and Gautam Buddh Nagar have the potential to be developed as satellite towns of Delhi. If New York can have New Jersey, then why can’t this happen? Instead of living in Delhi, people will choose to live here.”
Modi said all that these areas needed to develop into satellite towns was an “express rail” network.
“They only need an express rail network. Delhi se bojh kam ho jayega (The burden on Delhi will ease). Do you want to see development or not?” he said.
Two hours later, addressing a rally in Ghaziabad, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi hit back at the BJP.
He said Ghaziabad had fallen behind on development because it had BJP president Rajnath Singh as its MP.
“In Delhi, there are flyovers and bridges and other infrastructure. But the sad thing is that even though Ghaziabad is adjacent to Delhi, none of these things are here in Ghaziabad. If Rajnath Singh had come to Ghaziabad more often, this wouldn’t have happened and he wouldn’t have needed to contest elections from Lucknow,” he said.
Rahul spoke about issues pertinent to Ghaziabad such as the irregular supply of electricity, law and order problems, the need to extend the Metro to the city and traffic congestion on NH 24 and NH 58.
“If we are voted to power, we will repeat our success in Delhi in Ghaziabad as well. This we will do, even though our government is not in power in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
He also spoke about the “disappearance” of industries from Ghaziabad and promised to renew the city’s lost industrial prowess.
“At one point of time, Ghaziabad was famous for its industries, especially pharmaceutical companies. But they have all disappeared. If voted to power, we will bring industries back to Ghaziabad, similar to what’s happening in China,” Rahul said.
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