Prime Minister Narendra Modi took off this morning in a seaplane from the Sabarmati river in Ahmedabad and landed at Dharoi Dam - about 180 km away - at around 11.00 am. The PM is now at the famous Ambaji temple in Mehsana as campaigning for the Gujarat assembly elections ends today. He will fly back to Ahmedabad the same way.
PM Modi boarded the single-engine sea-plane from near the Sardar Bridge connecting the old city with Ahmedabad West. A special jetty was constructed to facilitate the prime minister's boarding from the river.
The seaplane take-off from the Sabarmati was Plan B after the PM's roadshow in Ahmedabad today was cancelled. It is designed to draw attention to the development work done by the BJP, which is seeking a fifth straight term in power in Gujarat, in response to the Congress, which has focused its campaign on alleging that the Gujarat model of development is a fail.
As PM Modi announced his sea-plane plan on Twitter on Monday evening, he also said, "With air, roads & rail connectivity, our Government is making efforts for harnessing waterways. All this is for 125 crore Indians," adding, "The transformation across Gujarat is for everyone to see. Sadly, Congress' notion of development is making a quick buck and that is why they are unable to see any change for the better."
PM Modi and Rahul Gandhi, who has been elected Congress president, had both planned roadshows in Ahmedabad today as a finale to a hectic, bitter campaign for the Gujarat elections. But both were denied permission by the Gujarat police, who said they feared law and order problems.
Rahul Gandhi's roadshow was planned through the old city while Prime Minister Modi's route was through the newer parts of Ahmedabad, across the river. But the police said there was a possibility of trouble because the routes "were in mutual conflict".
Mr Gandhi has swapped the roadshow plan with a press conference that he will address in Ahmedabad later on Tuesday morning. The battle for the crucial state, seen as a PM Modi vs Rahul Gandhi contest, saw the two leaders conduct aggressive campaigns and make sharp, often personal remarks against each other.
Both addressed multiple rallies in the last few days of campaigning, with political sparring escalating after PM Modi alleged that Pakistan was interfering in the Gujarat elections and that Congress leaders, including his predecessor Dr Manmohan Singh, discussed the state polls with Pakistani guests at a dinner hosted last week by Mani Shankar Aiyar, since suspended from the Congress over his "neech" slur against the PM.