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On His 67th Birthday, PM Narendra Modi ‘Gifts’ Sardar Sarovar Dam to India

PM Narendra Modi at the Narmada Mahotsav in Dabhoi, Gujarat, on Sunday.

PM Narendra Modi at the Narmada Mahotsav in Dabhoi, Gujarat, on Sunday.

Earlier, the Prime Minister had stressed that the project will start a new chapter of prosperity for Gujarat. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had called the project as "Gujarat's lifeline.

Kevadia (Gujarat): I am not one to celebrate birthdays, but I have not experienced a moment like this in many years, an emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi said as he dedicated the Sardar Sarovar Dam to the nation, 56 years after its foundation stone was laid. The inauguration of the dam, the second largest in the world, coincided with Modi’s 67th birthday.

The PM equated the dam, which has faced several delays over the years due to myriad reasons, to quenching mother earth’s thirst. “Some moments in one’s life are emotional like when mothers bless you for providing them water and when you quench the thirst of mute animals," he said.

The inauguration and Modi’s high-octane visit also assume significance as they come just a few months before the assembly elections in Gujarat. The BJP is planning to extract full mileage out of it for the election campaign by showcasing its dedication towards the project.

Party president Amit Shah had told youth BJP members last week that it is the duty of every BJP worker to highlight how the Congress has attempted to stall progress of the Narmada dam over the decades. The dam on the river Narmada has been described as 'Gujarat's lifeline' by the BJP leaders.

The Prime Minister also alluded to the Congress’ role in the delay of the dam’s completion in his speech on Sunday. “Whenever party interests have preceded country interest, the progress of work of the dam has been stalled. Similarly, when country interests have been put ahead of party interests, work on the dam has progressed,” said Modi.

Taking a dig at the opposition, he said that the BJP decided not to politicise the Narmada Dam issue. He added that he has information about leaders who tried to derail the project, but he will not make it public.

Terming the Sardar Sarovar Dam project and its supporting canal network an engineering miracle, Modi said that it will drastically change the lives of lakhs of people not just in Gujarat but in neighbouring Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as well.

He said that if Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar would have lived longer than they did, the Sardar Sarovar Dam project would have got completed much earlier.

The Prime Minister also inspected progress of work at the Statue of Unity, the world's largest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which will come up at Sadhu Bet in the Narmada River. “For some reason Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was never acknowledged and given the credit that he deserved. I have resolved to ensure that his legacy will carry on," PM Modi said.

“I don't like doing small things or thinking small things. In fact, I do not have the right to think about small things because the expectations of 125 crore Indians weighs upon me,” he stated.