Election plans in Rajasthan as PM opens Greater Delhi-Mumbai highway today

The first section of India’s longest highway will be opened to the public ahead of a busy election year.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today inaugurate the Sohna-Dausa section of the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway in Dausa, Rajasthan. The 246km stretch will benefit people traveling from Delhi to Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan state, who will now have a shorter alternative route, reducing travel time by more than an hour – from five hours to About three and a half hours. It is also expected to increase economic opportunities across the region.

The prime minister will address a public rally in the village of Dhanawar in Dausa, in eastern Rajasthan state, which is part of the “Gujjar-Meena belt” – an area dominated by two powerful rival communities that form a significant vote pool. Their votes leaned heavily in favor of the Congress party in the last election, helping the party beat rival Bharatiya Janata Party.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s pan-India foot march, the Bharat Jodo Yatra, recently traversed this part of the state. The BJP hopes the prime minister’s visit and the inauguration of the massive infrastructure project will boost the BJP’s support in this area ahead of parliamentary elections later this year.

Gujjars make up between 9% and 12% of the population and hold a significant presence in the 40-50 parliamentary seats in eastern Rajasthan. They have staged violent protests for land reservations in the past and recently threatened to block Rahul Gandhi from entering the state. In the last election, the grand old party won a majority of votes from the community, wanting Sachin Pilot to become chief minister, a first for Gujjars. Recently, though, Congress has faced an insurgency crisis, with Mr Pilot openly feuding with Ashok Gehlot, even as the BJP and the prime minister himself are stepping up engagement with the community.

The tribal population accounts for 13.48% of the population of Rajasthan, with Minas being the majority. They are traditionally congressional voters, but the BJP’s Kirodi Lal Meena is a heavyweight in the community, and he is trying to cement his party’s base in the electorally important neighborhood. Mr Meena is a five-time MLA, two-time Lok Sabha MP and a current member of the Rajya Sabha.

Seeing both national political parties strengthening ties with the Gujar community recently, Prime Minister Modi visited Rajasthan’s Birwa on the 1111th birth anniversary of Bhagwan Dev Narayan Malaseri in Bhilwara, a folk deity revered by the Gujar community, was declared a state holiday by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, just ahead of the prime minister’s visit, to honor the deity .

The prime minister is expected to appeal to voters in both communities today.

The first section of India’s longest highway will be opened to the public ahead of a busy election year.

The majestic highway promises to halve the travel time from the nation’s capital to its financial center, Mumbai, to just 12 hours.

Eight lanes wide and nearly 1,400 kilometers long, it cost more than one trillion rupiah to build.

The ambitious project, which aims to link India’s five major states, from Gujarat to Maharashtra, is being hailed as an engineering marvel.

There are electric vehicle charging stations, helipads, trauma centers, electric vehicle lanes and other facilities on the roadside. It is also the first expressway in Asia with animal overpasses and wild animal passages.

It also has SOS stations every two kilometers to call for help in the event of an accident or other emergency.

The opening of the Sohna-Dausa section will connect Gurugram, Sohna, Nooh, Mewat in Haryana and Alwar and Dausa in Rajasthan to the mega expressway.

There are eight entrances and exits on the Delhi-Dausa section.

The top speed of all vehicles is 120 kilometers per hour, which can save nearly 300 million liters of fuel and 800 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

There are automatic tollbooths along the entire highway, and the toll is only deducted once – calculated from entering the highway to leaving the highway. The toll for the 220km Delhi-Jaipur journey is Rs 70, which equates to 35 paise per kilometer.

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