Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a Rs 500-crore civil hospital associated with the local medical college in Gujarat’s Vadnagar village on Sunday. The village is Modi’s ancestral home. He is on a two-day trip to the poll-bound state to inaugurate a slew of projects.

It was Modi’s first visit to the village since he became prime minister. Earlier in the day, he took out a road show in the village amid loud chants and cheers.

“Coming back to one’s hometown and receiving such a warm welcome is special,” the prime minister told a gathering. “I go back with your blessings, and assure you that I will work even harder for the nation. Whatever I am today is due to values I have learnt on this soil, among you all in Vadnagar.”

Modi also interacted with students in the college. The hospital is set to cater to lakhs of patients in North Gujarat and south Rajasthan, which borders the region.

After launching an immunisation drive called the Mission Intensified Indradhanush, Modi said that the government was constantly working to make healthcare affordable for the poor in the country. He added that the government’s reduction of the price of stent helped people with heart diseases.

Modi criticised the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government for not having a health policy. He said that Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government between 1998 and 2004 brought in a comprehensive health policy, but the UPA government after that had a hatred towards development, according to ANI.

Modi also said he had been serving the nation since 2001, even though some people had “spewed venom” at him. “The blessings of Lord Shiva gave me the strength to drink and digest poison. This ability gave me the strength to serve the motherland with dedication over these many years,” he said.

Later in the day, Modi laid the foundation stone of a barrage over Narmada river in Bharuch, and inaugurated the Bhadbhut Barrage project. He also flagged off the Antyodaya Express that will run between Udhna in Gujarat and Jaynagar in Bihar. “Antyodaya Express is a commendable initiative by the Railways. The train will make it easier for people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to go home for Chhath Puja,” he said.

The prime minister is expected to inaugurate other public works, including the modernisation of the Vadnagar railway station, where he once sold tea.