New Delhi: On May 16, 2014, the day when the BJP won the General Election, then Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi stood in Vadodara, Gujarat, and thanked the people for their support.
“The media wanted me to speak since morning. But I wanted to speak to Vadodara first. Vadodara has the first right over me,” he said, adding, “I spent just 50 minutes in Vadodara and won by 5 lakh votes.”
Modi, who had won the Parliamentary election from two seats — Vadodara and Varanasi — promised the people of Gujarat that he would repay their debt by taking Vadodara to “new heights of development”.
On Friday, the Prime Minister will flag off a train that connects the two districts which placed their faith in him. The flagging off also comes just three months ahead of the crucial Gujarat Assembly polls.
After winning both seats in May 2014, Modi had to resign from one. He quit as the MP from Vadodara in Gujarat, his home state, and entered Lok Sabha as the MP from Varanasi. Modi, who will be in Varanasi on Friday, will flag off the train via video conference. Meanwhile, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal and Gujarat deputy CM Nitinbhai Patel will be in Vadodara. The Mahamana Express will leave Vadodara on Friday and reach Varanasi on Saturday.
The two towns have a special significance for the PM. It was his tenure as Gujarat CM that helped the BJP weave a campaign around Modi. The ‘Gujarat model’ helped pave the way to 7, Lok Kalyan Marg for Modi.
On the other hand, it was Varanasi in the northern bellwether state of Uttar Pradesh that eventually sent Modi to Parliament. He has often referred to himself as an ‘adopted son’ of UP.
After the inaugural trip, regular service will start from September 27. Train No 20903 Vadodara-Varanasi Weekly Superfast Mahamana Express will depart from Vadodara every Wednesday at 7:40 PM and will reach Varanasi at 10:20 PM the next day.
The regular service for the return train will start from September 29. Train No 20904 Varanasi-Vadodara Weekly Superfast Mahamana Express will depart from Varanasi on every Friday at 6:10 am and will reach Vadodara at 9:40 am the next day.
The train will halt at Bharuch, Surat, Amalner, Bhusaval, Itarsi, Jabalpur, Katni, Satna and Chheoki stations in both directions. It will have I AC, II tier AC, Sleeper Class and II Class General Coaches.