Congress anxious bullet trains could affect winning chances in Gujarat polls

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"Even as Mumbai local trains suffer daily, a bullet train will be running between Ahmedabad and Mumbai". The train is expected to cut the journey time from the current six hours to less than three hours.

The opposition Congress, too, mounted a scalding offensive against Modi, saying the launch of the venture ahead of the Gujarat election followed a pattern of the prime minister announcing economic packages and projects before state polls.

Jibes, memes and jokes on the bullet train dominated discussions on social media. "Not just economical but also societal changes have been brought about by these trains", Modi said in Ahmedabad. "When earlier I talked about the bullet train, they used to say it was big talk, and now when it has come they are saying what is the need for it", Modi said. Besides this, a senior official from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said that the state government wants Japan International Cooperation Agency (JAICA) to fund the Mumbai-Nagpur bullet train project on the same lines as the Ahmedabad-Mumbai project. Interestingly, the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president Sanjay Nirupam stressed that Shiv Sena should approach the Chief Minister with an appeal to recall Mehta. "It is only timed with the Gujarat elections in mind.This is nothing but a 'chunavi bullet train",' Kharge told reporters in New Delhi. Party sources acknowledged that the launch of the bullet train project could consolidate urban votes in the BJP's favour. Recalling past mega-projects, the Sena said first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had laid the foundation for many developmental projects and PSUs, ranging from the Bhakra-Nangal Dam to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, and many other schemes that helped the country progress in technology and science.

The Shiv Sena also alleged that "Modi's dream is not of the common man but of the rich and industrialists". All these projects were needed for the nation.

Even a group of farmers from Boisar in Palghar district of Maharashtra protested against the project fearing acquisition of their lands. "How long will this time pass go on?" the Sena said. "We are not against development".

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