Modi’s first visit to Arunachal after Doklam

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With an alert China watching amid Spring Festival celebrations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Arunachal Pradesh to inaugurate a host of projects with an eye on the upcoming elections. This is his first visit to the state since the Doklam standoff with China last year.China continues to raise strong objections to visits by Indian leaders to the state, parts of which Beijing claim to be disputed areas. China had kicked up a storm when President Ram Nath Kovind had visited Arunachal last year in November.

In Arunachal Pradesg, Mr Modi will be launching a new 24×7 Doordarshan channel, DD Arun Prabha, which will be the second channel dedicated to the northeast after DD North-East. Other inaugurations include the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre and the state’s Civil Secretariat complex in Itanagar. He will also be a part of the foundation stone laying ceremony of the academic block at the Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Science.

In his public address in Itanagar, Mr Modi announced the renaming of the Naharlagun-New Delhi express as the Arunachal Pradesh express, which will now be running twice a week. He also laid emphasis on the Ayushman Bharat scheme through which the government aims to provide affordable and quality healthcare. Whipping patriotic fervour, Mr Modi told the people of the state that there were more “jai hinds” to be heard in Arunachal than anywhere else and that the youth of the state were eager to learn Hindi.

From Arunachal, Mr Modi will be heading to Tripura to address two election rallies on February 15, the penultimate day of campaigning before the February 18 polls. The BJP has been engaged in an aggressive campaign in Tripura against the long-standing Manik Sarkar government. Mr Modi’s visit to Tripura comes a day before Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s visit. The state has seen a stream of high-profile visits by senior BJP leaders including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari and Yogi Adityanath.