Who Owns the Sardar Sarovar Dam: BJP or Congress?

Narendra Modi at the Sardar Sarovar Dam, in Gujarat on September 17, 2017
Narendra Modi at the Sardar Sarovar Dam, in Gujarat on September 17, 2017

Congress says PM Modi is playing politics with Sardar Sarovar Dam in order to woo the Gujarat voters for the 182-member assembly election expected to take place toward the end of this year.

By Rakesh Raman

When India’s Prime Minister (PM), Narendra Modi, unveiled the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river on Sunday, the opposition party Congress was perturbed.

It said that the dam project was initiated by Congress leader and former PM Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961 and now Modi is trying to take undue credit for it.

Congress also said that later its leader and PM Rajiv Gandhi removed the stumbling blocks by issuing environmental clearances for the completion of the project.

However, Modi refused to acknowledge the Congress claims. He said the dam was, in fact, planned of Sardar Patel who worked with Jawaharlal Nehru. Modi and his party BJP believe that Patel was their leader while Nehru was a Congress man.

[ Also Read: FAR Construction and Pollution Poised to Kill People in Delhi ]

Having a length of 1.2 kms and a depth of 163 metres, the benefits of the dam are expected to go to three Indian states: Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.

Modi’s BJP claims that 40 million people of Gujarat will get drinking water and 22,000 hectares of land will be irrigated with the water from the dam while it will help realize Modi’s vision of increasing the farmers’ income by 2022.

Congress, however, counters BJP’s claims saying that Modi is playing politics with Sardar Sarovar Dam in order to woo the Gujarat voters for the 182-member assembly election expected to take place toward the end of this year.

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“BJP is known to have taken every event of the government’s policies as an instrument for election campaigns,” Congress said, adding that BJP’s latest venture is to glamorize the Narmada Mahotsav Yatra to attract voters’ attention, ignoring the woes of thousands of farmers and tribals.

It is expected that Modi’s optics – including prayers and hymns – on the Sardar Sarovar Dam will give BJP an advantage in the Gujarat election. So, it must be – and it is – a matter of concern for the beleaguered Congress, which is slowly losing its clout in all parts of the country.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist and social activist. He has formed an environment-protection group called Green Group in Delhi. Earlier, he had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

Photo courtesy: Press Information Bureau

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Rakesh Raman