The Shiv Sena yesterday wondered whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi was trying to ‘hide’ the poverty in Gujarat to impress US President Donald Trump in Ahmedabad next week.
“Modi has been the CM (chief minister) of Gujarat for nearly 15 years and then the country’s PM for over five years. But in order to cover up the poverty and misery of the slums in Ahmedabad, a huge wall is being constructed on the route Trump will take,” the Shiv Sena, once an ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, said in an editorial in the party-run newspaper Saamana.
It said that after landing at Ahmedabad Airport, Trump will spend barely three hours in the city – the first-ever visit by an American president to Gujarat, and for this the state government was making hectic efforts to make it memorable, all personally monitored by the prime minister.
While at least 17 Ahmedabad roads are being spruced up, the road outside the airport is being redone and some new roads are being constructed for the American leader, but what is tragic is that a wall is being built to hide the slums on the US president’s route in the city, said Saamana.
“In the past, there was the much ridiculed ‘garibi hatao’ (wipe out poverty) slogan (by the Congress), and now it appears to have transformed into ‘garibi chhupao’ policy (hide poverty). What message is the government conveying by this? Has the government made any budgetary provisions for it or will Trump now offer aid to build such walls all over India?”
The Sena also commented on how – on the eve of his India trip – Trump knocked India off from the list of developing countries and upgraded it to a ‘developed’ nation, with huge ramifications for Indian businesses.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is visiting Agra today to take stock of arrangements for Trump’s visit to the city of Taj Mahal.
Trump and First Lady Melania are likely to visit the Taj Mahal on February 24 and remain in the city for around two hours.
According to a government spokesman, the chief minister will be inspecting the route from Kheria airbase to Taj Mahal and will also hold a high-level meeting of officials.
A team from the US embassy is visited Agra yesterday to work out the modalities of Trump’s visit.
Preparations for the visit of the state guests are being directly monitored by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Agra divisional commissioner Anil Kumar has assigned responsibilities to senior officials to make arrangements for the guests.
The Agra Municipal Corporation (AMC) has launched a cleanliness drive on the route to the Taj Mahal. Senior officials of police and administration are getting all the encroachments removed in the vicinity of the 17th century monument.
Municipal commissioner Arun Prakash said: “Our teams are already on job to make the required arrangements ahead of the US president’s visit. Before the proposed inspection of CM on February 18, all the encroachments, unauthorised hoardings will be removed. Road repairing work has also been initiated and will be completed very soon. The entire VVIP route will be systematically maintained and decorated to welcome the guests.”
All residential and government buildings along the route will be subjected to checking. Verification of people living in houses and working in shops and showrooms has been initiated. Hotel owners have been asked to share details of all the guests on a daily basis from today.
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