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Politics colour I-Day celebrations in Gujarat
August 15, 2003 16:16 IST
Political overtones coloured the Independence Day celebrations in Gujarat on Friday.
While Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi set a precedent and unfurled the national flag at Patan, ancient capital of the state, the Congress executed a coup of sorts by getting Vithalbhai Pandya, father of slain Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Gujarat home minister Haren Pandya, to unfurl the tricolour at Gandhinagar.
Criticising Modi's 'extravaganza in Patan', Vithalbhai Pandya said if the government was 'really concerned' about the town it should allocate funds for development work.
Congress, which boycotted the official flag hoisting function, threatened to intensify its campaign against the state government for hiking power, court and college fees.
Asserting the Congress would not let the Modi government rest in peace till it rolled back the hikes, Pradesh Congress Committee chief Shankersinh Vaghela said, "Our fight does not end here. We declare before this national flag that our campaign against various price hikes will turn more aggressive in the coming days."
At Patan, Modi, in his address, praised the people for their patience and resilience saying they had surged ahead on the path of progress despite enduring natural calamities like the earthquake, drought and cyclone.
He also announced a slew of measures to be taken by his government, including Rs 2 crore grant for the development of the town.
Patan, he said, has set a precedent to 'show people how Independence Day must be celebrated'.
Rural development, said Modi, was the key to overall progress. He added the state government has chalked out the Jyotirgram Yojna, wherein villages having population of over 3000 will be given 24-hour three-phase electricity akin to cities.
Stating that Gujarat has the capability to match global parameters, the chief minister asked, "Why should we set low targets when we have the capability of fulfilling global parameters required for development?"