Sardar Sarovar Dam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the Sardar Sarovar Dam, constructed on the Narmada river, to the nation on his 67th birthday.

Four states - Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh - will benefit from the project. Sardar Sarovar Dam is world's second largest dam after Grand Coulee Dam in the United States. 

Three months back, the Narmada Control Authority had approved closure of the dam's sluice gates to let the water level rise to its full height of 138.68 metres.

Bharatiya Janata Party will look to use this opportunity to grow its vote bank in the run-up to the assembly elections in Gujarat.

Earlier this month, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani flagged off a two-week long Narmada Mahotsav Yatra in Surendranagar to mark the completion of the dam. Over 80 Narmada Raths have been taken out across the state to spread awareness on the project's importance.

The yatra will conclude at Dabhoi in Vadodara district on Sunday, where Narendra Modi will address the public.

BJP blames Congress for project delay

"Within 10 days of assuming office as Prime Minister, Narendrabhai gave the nod to install gates on the Narmada dam. It became possible because of his strong will and hard work of years. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi as to why a project started by his great-grandfather was not completed during the tenure of his father?" BJP national chief Amit Shah asked at a town hall event in Ahmedabad on September 10.

Narendra Modi Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit Sabarmati Ashram, in Ahmedabad on September 13, 2017.PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

The saffron party has been blaming the opposition Congress for the project's delay. "When the UPA was in power at the Centre government did not give permission for seven years to install gates on the dam. After Modiji became Prime Minister, the go-ahead was given within a few days," Gujarat chief minister Rupani said.

Incomplete canal work?

However, the Congress retorted by raising the issue of the incomplete canal network. 

"As our PM is visiting Gujarat, I want to ask him why 43,000 km of the canal network is still incomplete. I wish he explains this delay as the BJP has been in power here for 22 years and he was the chief minister from 2001 to 2014," Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said.

The Sardar Sarovar Project is also about pacifying the powerful Patidar community who have been demanding OBC status. Patidars are mostly farmers and BJP will use this platform to woo them.

"With the inauguration of the project, over 18 lakh hectares of land in the state will benefit through irrigation as Narmada waters will flow to over 9,000 villages of Gujarat through a canal network," Rupani added.