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Home > News > PTI

Vajpayee takes the train to Faizabad

Subhashis Mitra on board VVIP Train | February 07, 2004 18:29 IST

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee created a record of sorts on Saturday when for the first time in over two decades the highest political executive undertook a train journey after dedicating to the nation a mega-bridge on the river Saryu.

Vajpayee traveled by the Presidential Saloon, a hi-tech "armoured" rail coach, the eight-km stretch from Katra to Faizabad which will provide a direct rail link between eastern Uttar Pradesh and Ayodhya, revered as the birth place of Lord Rama.

This was the first train journey undertaken by a prime minister after late Indira Gandhi traveled from Chandigarh to New Delhi in early 1980s after attending the All India Congress Committee session in Chandigarh. Before her, former prime minister Morarji Desai had traveled by train in 1978.

People lined up on both sides of the 16 km stretch from Katra to Faizabad and anxiously waiting children perched on rooftops and trees along the route to have a close glimpse of the special train decorated with flowers, garlands and bouquets.

Bharatiya Janata Party flags fluttered on houses and police had to check the crowd from rushing closer to the track.

A special platform was set up for the prime minister to disembark at Faizabad.Security personnel did not leave any stone unturned and the river Sarayu was patrolled by armed commandos as the VVIP train passed over.

In his speech at Katra, Vajpayee said in a lighter vein that he was responsible to some extent for delaying the inauguration of the railway line and the bridge.

The bridge has been ready for a year now but was not inaugurated this long because the prime minister didn't the have time to cut the ribbon.

Faizabad town was placed under heavy security cover for the PM's visit and the residents had a tough time with restrictions on free movement of vehicles.

Local people said that so far Faizabad has witnessed over half-a-dozen prime minister's visits and such security arrangements are not new for them.

More reports from Uttar Pradesh
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