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Modi to break fast; Uddhav Thackeray meets him to express solidarity

Written by: Staff

Ahmedabad, Apr 17 (UNI) Welcoming the Supreme Court's observations that work on Narmada river for raising the height of Sardar Sarovar dam should continue, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today said he will break his fast this evening.

Mr Modi, who had announced a 51-hour fast on saturday to protest the failure of talks with the Centre on the issue, told reporters here that he and his supporters have decided to call it off at 1900 hrs today, in view of this development.

Shiv Sena Executive President Uddhav Thackeray also arrived here to meet the Chief Minister. ''Whenever there was a problem in Maharashtra, Gujaratis were always at forefront with help. So it is our duty to express solidarity with Gujarat on this issue,'' Mr Thackeray told the mediapersons.

''The Supreme Court has rejected the petition of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) supporters but as the latter want to present their views, we are awaiting the final order. We will give up our fast, in reverence to the Constitution and the apex court of the country,'' he said.

He said rehabilitation and resettlement of the affected people has always been the priority of his Government. ''We were always prepared to work on that aspect and today too we are prepared to settle all the issues,'' he said.

A group of tribal women from Sankheda taluka of Vadodara, who live in the area to be affected by the dam project, met Mr Modi at the dharna venue and expressed solidarity with him. A visibly happy Chief Minister recieved them and said, ''Even they have supported our protest. They also want dam work to continue.'' Earlier, scores of BJP workers broke into jubilation at the GMDC grounds (the venue of Mr Modi's dharna), when the apex court's observations came to be known.

Addressing a press conference near the venue, State Urban Development Minister I K Jadeja criticised the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists for hindering the development process in the country. He said the Sardar Sarovar project will not only benefit Gujarat, but a total population of 25 crore in the four States of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

(Eds; here pick up suitably from earlier series) UNI MMG GK RL HT1720

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