Congress anxious bullet trains could affect winning chances in Gujarat polls

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Of the 508-km route and 12 stations of the bullet train, 120 km and four stations will fall in Maharashtra. The party also attacked the government for its failure to bail out debt ridden farmers and giving more importance to infrastructure projects. The common man won't benefit from bullet train as the government is looking after the interest of businessman.

While Modi called the project as a harbinger of change, the Congress called the bullet train as a "chunavi bullet train" (election bullet train) as Gujarat, the home state of Modi, is all set to host the Assembly elections later this year.

But what is most amusing is the urge to constantly draw comparisons between the issue of dilapidated railways and need for a bullet train.

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Modi also attacked his critics during his speech at the mega-event in Ahmedabad. "Our aim is to make technology so affordable through maximum use that it becomes associated with the life of the poor", the PM added. Though the BJP is touting the high-speed rail as Modi's dream, the Sena reminded it was also Modi's ambitious dream to bring back Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir into India, "after which the bullet train should run smoothly from New Delhi to PoK via Kashmir and Tibet", it challenged.

Japan is a pioneer in high-speed rail transport and some of their trains are ranked among the fastest in the world. "However, bullet trains will now zip between Ahmedabad-Mumbai without anybody even asking for it".

The two leaders enjoy a close friendship - Mr Modi chose Japan as the destination for his first bilateral visit outside South Asia as prime minister.

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Questioning the economic viability of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project, the Congress on Thursday said the foundation stone laying ceremony was timed ahead of the Gujarat elections, primarily to push projects just before the polls. "All those projects were needed by the country".

Shrikant Shinde, Shiv Sena MP said, "Modi takes decision in haste and doesn't take other people in to confidence. Does this bullet train fit into the needs of the country?" the Shiv Sena added.

Congress insiders said the party is concerned that Modi, who has sought to appropriate its icons like Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and B R Ambedkar, was re-branding development projects as well.

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