Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Tuesday called Independent MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani an “anti-national”, and compared his “opposition” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambititous high-speed bullet train project to activist Medha Patkar’s opposition to Sardar Sarovar dam project on Narmada river.
Speaking during the Question Hour in the Assembly, Patel said, “Those speaking the language of Medha Patkar, following her — where she even approached the Supreme Court (against the Narmada dam project); if we listen to these virodhi, desh virodhi, praja virodhi, vikas virodhi (opponents, anti-nationals, anti-people and anti-development) and stop projects, then right from Chimanbhai (Patel) to other chief ministers, including Narendra Modi and Keshubhai Patel, who stood against Medha Patkar, fought her and completed the Narmada project… If the government would have listened to her and worked as per her demands then today the lifeline of Gujarat, Narmada project would not have been completed,” Nitin Patel said in response to Mevani’s argument that despite protests from farmers in Gujarat and Maharashtra, the state government is adamant to move forward with the project.
Continuing his jibe, Patel asked the Opposition Congress, “So, I ask Congress leader if they are with Jignesh’s stand or oppose it. As the way Medha Patkar was opposing the Narmada project, he is opposing the bullet train project.”
Earlier, Mevani had hit out at the BJP government over the bullet train project, saying, “Farmers in Gujarat and Maharashtra are opposing the bullet train project. My question is when Gujarat and Maharashtra farmers together are saying that they do not want bullet train, then why this is being done.”
Even as Patel spoke, a ruckus followed, and Mevani, protesting being called rashtra virodhi (anti-nationalist) began to walk towards the Well of the House.
On Speaker Rajendra Trivedi’s request, Mevani returned to his seat. “Let me complete my sentence and do not decide on incomplete sentences. If we would have worked as per the opposing voices, then Narmada project could not have been completed,” the Deputy CM said.
Earlier, speaking on the bullet train project, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Paresh Dhanani too raised doubts over the state government’s intentions. “My only request is that poor, small farmers, tribals whose livelihood is based on their small land holdings, we would not want to cut their livelihood and take forward development,” Dhanani said.
PM to inaugurate Ahmedabad Metro rail on March 4
Prime Minister Narendra Modi would on March 4 inaugurate the first phase of the Metro Rail Project in Ahmedabad and the newly-built civil hospital, the Gujarat Legislative Assembly was told Tuesday. The first trial run on the 6.5 km route of the metro rail was successfully conducted recently.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first phase of metro train service in Ahmedabad on March 4,” Deputy CM Nitin Patel said during the Question Hour.
Modi will inaugurate newly-built 1200-bed civil hospital in Ahmedabad on the same day, he said. He would also inaugurate a cancer hospital, an eye hospital and a dental hospital, constructed in the existing premises of the civil hospital, known as Med City. (ENS)