Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam, which has been raised to a height of 138 meters, on Sunday at Kevadia colony in Narmada district. The event will be well attended by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, BJP president Amit Shah, and Union minister Nitin Gadkari, among others.
However, due to a security protocol and a shortage of space on the dam, where Modi will perform Narmada aarti, the guest list of dignitaries has been curtailed. Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh — Devendra Fadnavis, Vasundhara Raje, and Shivraj Singh Chouhan — who were earlier scheduled to attend the event, will not be able to make it, said District Collectors of Vadodara and Narmada.
“As per the last confirmation we received, the chief ministers of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are not coming for the event,” Vadodara District Collector P Bharati said. In their places, the three states will be represented by their water resources minister — Narottam Mishra from Madhya Pradesh, Rampratap from Rajasthan by and Girish Mahajan from Maharashtra, Bharati added.
All the three states are ruled by the BJP. Singer Anuradha Paudwal has been invited to sing devotional songs. According to officials, the guest list, which originally included several spiritual leaders from various muths of the country, has now been restricted to prominent religious and spiritual leaders from Gujarat alone. Among those expected to be present at the event are Morari Bapu and Ramesh Oza and a host of spiritual leaders from the Swaminaryan sect.
A senior BJP functionary said, “There was a long list of guests, especially saints, who were expected to come here, especially from Madhya Pradesh and Varanasi. However, given the SPG protocol, it was impossible to accommodate everyone at the dam site. The SPG team, which visited the venue on Friday raised concern that the number of people present at the spot would completely violate the security protocol and pose a threat in case of an untoward incident. So, the guest list has been curtailed.”
Most priests and saints from Gujarat will be present at Dabhoi, instead of Kevadia, the leader said. Vadodara district administration stated, “September 17 will witness the inauguration of the Narmada project to its full potential and capacity at the hands of the son of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with blessings from the saints and high priests.”
The release said that Narmada river has “same importance as river Ganga, which was locked in the hair of Lord Shiva”. Later in the day, Modi will address a public rally in Dabhoi where more than 1.5 lakh people are expected to be present.