Vasundhara Raje sounds election bugle in Rajasthan

March 27th, 2008 - 10:11 pm ICT by admin  

Lalpur (Rajasthan), March 27 (IANS) Setting the stage for election in the state, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje Thursday said their government has taken a number of steps to improve the infrastructure in the state and has brought back its ancient glory. Speaking at a rally after releasing the Narmada river water here, Raje said: “I am sounding the election bugle. Rajasthan is no longer a BIMARU state. In the past four years we have taken the state forward towards progress.”

Keeping in mind the elections to be held later this year, she announced that the value added tax (VAT) on granite would be decreased from 12.5 percent to four percent.

“There was a demand from the granite manufacturers. They are paying high VAT because of which their industry was suffering,” she said while addressing about 100,000 people who had gathered to see the release of the water.

Taking credit for bringing the Narmada river water to water-starved Rajasthan, Raje, who first spoke in the local Marwari dialect and then switched to Hindi, said the river is no less pious than Ganges.

“No one gave you Narmada. People have been making promises. But when I took a rally after my victory, people told me that they need water and electricity,” said the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) leader.

The Narmada project will cover a total length of 74 km and pass through some of the worst affected areas of Barmer and Jalore where people have to travel several kilometres to fetch drinking water.

She said: “The state has 20-hour long electricity supply. Now the river will provide water and will be used to irrigate land.”

“People have not seen water. They have just heard that Narmada water is coming to their state. When I saw the water I had tears in my eyes. People have come from far off to see the water today (Thursday). When we came to power, we paid Rs.647 crore (Rs.6.47 billion) to the Gujarat government,” she said.

She said her government doesn’t believe in working in order to get votes. “We believe in a big family. We don’t believe in caste and creed,” she said.

“Rajasthan is known in history. But now we have been able to gain the glory back,” she said at village Lalpur, about 175 km from Mount Abu.

Later addressing media persons, Raje tried to tone down her announcement of turning the event into a start of election campaign. She said the budgets she has been announcing for the past four years may look to people as if her government was preparing for elections.

“We have been performing in each area be it water, electricity or education or roads. The social infrastructure has improved. There is no magic wand. We agree that there is room for improvement. We need to do more,” she added.

Raje said they had earlier fought for “change” but this time their election slogan is “development.”

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