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EC bans Modi's Narmada Pujan Yatra

March 20, 2004 17:43 IST
Last Updated: March 20, 2004 18:11 IST

The Election Commission of India on Saturday banned the Narmada Pujan Yatra led by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi following a complaint by the Congress party that it was in 'flagrant violation' of the model code of conduct for elections.

The yatra was ostensibly taken out to 'celebrate' the recent decision of Narmada Control Authority on increasing the dam height.

The yatra, which began this morning from Odhav on Ahmedabad outskirts, will be suspended near Dabhoi in Vadodara district, about 60 kms from the dam site in Kevadia colony in Narmada district, state government spokesman and Health Minister I K Jadeja told PTI.

The Gujarat unit of the Congress had in a letter to Chief Election Commissioner on Friday alleged the Modi government was 'flagrantly violating' the model code of conduct as the Narmada Control Authority had 'permitted the increasing of dam height to 110 metres with a condition that there should be no celebration in the name of the dam'.

The Pradesh Congress Committee had also brought to the notice of the CEC that the yatra was aimed at deriving political mileage from this issue by celebrating the decision.

"However, Modi announced the yatra from Ahmedabad to dam site in Kevadia passing through various parts of Central Gujarat. Crackers were also burst at BJP office on March 18 to celebrate," the GPCC had said.

The yatra had passed through Kapadvanj, Dakor, Kathlal, Savli and Ladvel towns in central Gujarat, and will be suspended as soon as it reached Dabhoi in view of EC orders, Jadeja said.

He criticised Congress and Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar for 'playing spoilsport with the happiness being experienced by people'.

"The yatra will be suspended. But for the BJP it is the increase in height of dam to 110 mts that is more important," the spokesman added.

The Congress, meanwhile, welcomed the EC decision to ban the yatra and said the party's view that it violated the model code of conduct stood vindicated.

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