Friday, December 25, 2009 10:34 IST
Ahmedabad: Chief minister Narendra Modi is famous for throwing up surprises. On Thursday, he did just that — he caught the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) bosses off guard when he took an unplanned ride on one of his pet projects, the Bus Rapid Transit System, from Ranip to GMDC ground to attend a function.
In fact, Modi, BJP spokesperson Jaynarayan Vyas and security personnel abandoned their air-conditioned cars near Ranip to hop onto the BRTS vehicle. Sources say he paid Rs60 as ticket fare for the trip, for the 10-12 passengers who were part of his entourage.
Sources also said that the Gujarat CM hopped onto the bus on the return journey and had to travel standing because the vehicle was packed!
One of the highlights of this episode was that of a Rabari woman who was on the bus and didn’t recognise the CM, who sat on a seat near the entry door. The woman took the nearest empty seat without realising that it was the CM who was seated beside her.
The extraordinary sight drew ripples of laughter from the other passengers in the bus. The CM also showed the common touch by talking to the commuters to get first hand feedback from them about the system,” the source added.
Modi’s move is also being seen as an effort to check efficiency of the much hyped BRTS project ahead of the inauguration of the second stretch from Chandranagar to Pushpakunj in Maninagar on Friday. Some people in the AMC also feel that he conveyed the message of conservation to people: leave your cars behind and use the BRTS.
Whatever it may be, officials in the AMC are relieved after experiencing tense moments upon learning that the CM had taken an apparently unrehearsed BRTS trip. “It was a total surprise. We had absolutely no clue about Modi saheb’s plan to take the BRTS. We learned that he interacted with commuters to know if they find the bus service comfortable and efficient,” a senior AJL official said.
However, officials are keeping their fingers crossed about the CM’s reactionto the efficacyor otherwise of the BRTS. “We will get to know only on Friday when he inaugurates the second BRTS stretch from Chandranagar to Pushpakunj. Let’s hope for the best,” an official said.