Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit poll-bound Gujarat for the third time this month on October 22, to inaugurate and lay foundation stones for various projects in Bhavnagar and Vadodara districts, PTI reported on Friday.

Modi will inaugurate the first phase of a Rs 615 crore “ro-ro” ferry service between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district and Dahej in Bharuch. The prime minister had called the service his “dream project” during a rally in Gandhinagar on October 16.

“It is a complex project which involves the complicated marine structure of the Gulf of Cambay, on which it is built,” Gujarat Maritime Board Chief Executive Officer Ajay Bhadoo said. “The service reduces the distance between the two towns from 310 kilometres by road to 30 kilometres, which can be covered in one hour.”

Modi will address a gathering in Ghogha, and then travel to Dahej in the ferry. While the first phase of the project is meant for passengers, in the second phase, cars can also be ferried across the two towns.

After travelling to Dahej, Modi will reach Vadodara to inaugurate and lay the foundation stones for projects worth over Rs 1,140 crore. Vadodara Municipal Commissioner Vinod Rao said Modi will inaugurate a Rs 100 crore city command and control centre in Badamadi Garden and a Rs 125 crore city transport hub and multi-level parking among other projects.

He will also inaugurate a Rs 166 crore water treatment plant, two flyovers, a deer safari park, and a Rs 6 crore veterinary hospital, Rao said.

Election-related allegations

The Congress had criticised the Election Commission’s decision to not announce the dates for the Gujarat poll along with its announcement of the Himachal Pradesh election schedule. The Opposition party alleged that the commission is delaying announcing the dates so that the BJP can offer more schemes to the people in the state.
“EC has authorised Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] to announce [the] date of [the] Gujarat elections at his last rally,” Former Finance Minister P Chidambaram had tweeted.

The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect as soon as voting dates are announced, banning politicians from announcing freebies until elections are over.

The commission, however, had defended its decision. “Gujarat poll schedules are not announced right now due to the existing rules on time limit [46 days] for holding elections,” Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti had said. “But it will take place before December 18, to ensure that Himachal Pradesh election results do not impact the Gujarat elections.”