Narendra Modi’s shadow lingered at Gujarat Chief Minister Anandi Patel’s first public event to launch the 10th edition of the annual Krishi Mahotsav in Morbi district on Wednesday.
At the gathering of farmers and farm researchers, it was “Narendrabhai” all the way. The backdrop had a larger picture of Modi than Patel. She mentioned “Prime Minister Narendrabhai” at least five times in her 30-minute speech, assuring the farmers that now with him at the helm, the gates on the Sardar Sarovar Dam will be installed and Gujarat will get ample water supply to irrigate fields. “In the last 10 years, all Narendrabhai’s appeals and letters to the Congress government at the Centre fell on deaf ears. Now, that our beloved Narendrabhai has become PM, we have hopes that in the next two and a half years the gate installation will be completed and we will get the Narmada waters,” she said.
Recalling Modi’s relief work as an RSS volunteer in 1979, when the Machchu dam burst flooded Morbi, she gave him credit for launching the Krishi Mahotsav in 2005. Patel said that before 2001, agriculture growth in Gujarat had gone into negatives, but thanks to Krishi Mohatsav, it had now touched the mark of 17 per cent and the agriculture produce today is to the tune of Rs 1.11 lakh crore.
She also inaugurated boys hostel,especially for foreign students, for Junagadh Agriculture University. At this point, she chose to mention the denial of US visa to Modi. “There was a time when America had denied visa to our Narendrabhai. Students from this very America are now coming to Junagadh to study. It’s a matter of pride for us,” said Patel. US, citing violation of religious rights, had denied visa to Modi in 2005 for his alleged role in 2002 Gujarat riots.