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Narendra Modi pitches for 'vibrant India', positions himself for 2014 polls

MST

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NEW DELHI: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi made a powerful entry on the national centrestage by aggressively hawking his Gujarat model of development and governance as an alternative to the ruling coalition at the Centre, claiming his way would lift the despair enveloping the country and help it realize its potential.

Modi's forceful performance at the country's top commerce college — Shri Ram College of Commerce — and the response it got from his youthful audience is likely to add to the momentum already building up within the BJP for his formal projection as the party's prime ministerial candidate even at the cost of losing Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar as an ally.

It was Modi's first public appearance in Delhi since his third straight victory in Gujarat and it came amid steadily growing indications about the larger Sangh Parivar tilting towards showcasing him as the BJP's counter to Rahul Gandhi for the 2014 match up.

Modi made full use of the opportunity as he flaunted the impressive growth Gujarat has clocked under his watch. He did not attack the UPA directly, but projected a forward-looking vision to connect with what is loosely referred to as aspirational India — the constituency of youth which is perceived to be up for grabs because of disillusionment with Congress.

He appeared to have pitched it right, with the speech — telecast live by all the networks — receiving repeated applause from the college stadium packed to the rafters. The BJP leader was greeted with cheers when he reached the venue. Outside, though, there was a large group protesting against him and a strong police contingent used lathi charges and water cannon to keep it at bay.

For many, the demonstration was evidence of Modi being a polarizing presence because of the 2002 Gujarat riots: something which is cited by his rivals within the BJP as well as allies like Nitish Kumar to argue that he does not have prime ministerial credentials.

But the cheers that Modi evoked from SRCC students, a group with a predisposition for entrepreneurship and economic growth, reinforced the argument of the faction which feels that only he can bring in the additional votes that BJP needs to overtake Congress decisively. This faction now appears to have gained an upper hand in the leadership debate.

The actual leadership drill is set to start next month when BJP holds meetings of its national executive and national council. The twin exercises will clear the way for Modi's return to the central parliamentary board as a possible prelude to his appointment as the chairman of the party's campaign committee. The decision on whether to project him or not will take longer to resolve but there is no mistaking the trajectory.

His foray into the Capital on Wednesday showed that Modi was game for the challenge. Coming after his visit to Rajasthan for a wedding and his plan to visit Allahabad for the Maha Kumbh on March 12, the outing at SRCC showed that speculation about a national role may have encouraged the chief minister, so far comfortably ensconced in Gujarat, to venture farther afield.

Modi certainly did not seem fazed by the protesters as he reached out to his audience. "Minimum government, maximum governance is my creed," he said: an apt formulation for a college which has been the recruiting ground for corporate India and where a government with heavy footprint has always been frowned upon.

There was more on similar lines. Modi bandied his 3 'S' — skill, scale and speed - as the means to break out of stagnant growth India is currently experiencing. The extempore speech was peppered with managerial formulations — value addition, skill development, lab-to-land (agriculture), farm-to-fiber-to-factory-to-fashion (textile), and P2G2 (pro-people good governance).

The criticism of vote-bank politics appeared tailor-made for the throng that routinely despairs at the premium placed on identity politics a short shrift to "merit". If the focus on development brought out the eagerness of the man to leave 2002 behind and to be judged on the secular parameters of growth, investment and development, Modi's attempt to tap into the aspiration-driven youth was quite evident. "There are those who consider you the new age voter, but for me, you are the new age power who can help India realize the glory Vivekananda had envisioned," he said.

Modi started off by painting himself as an unrepentant optimist. "For me, the glass is always full," he declared, waving the tumbler kept for him at the lectern. The "we-can-do-it" theme ran through the nearly hour-long speech, with Modi asserting that the 21st century would be India's and declaring that the country can overtake China in manufacturing.

The effort to showcase his pro-growth credentials had him dipping into the nitty-gritty of packaging and benefits of brand building. Modi said 121 countries and business houses accounting for the 50% of India's GDP had gathered under one roof for the Vibrant Gujarat Summit and that too, at just 11 days' notice.

In the same vein, he asserted that it took him just 162 days to build the country's largest convention centre and that takes just 19 months for a company from the drawing board to start manufacturing coaches for the Delhi Metro in Gujarat.

But did not lose sight of his larger message: an optimistic and hopeful future for a youthful country which deserved better than the all-pervasive despair. "India was a land of snake charmers but now it is known for its mouse charmers (referring to India's expertise in software). And this would not have been possible without the young hands that we have. That shows that Swami Vivekanand was right when he declared that India will be the world leader once again. This is the era of knowledge economy and the opportunity for India to take its rightful place at the top," he concluded to a generous applause.

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So it Begins...lets see how things go going forward. Fingers Crossed.
 

Iggy

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India is no longer a nation of snake charmers. We have now become mouse-charmers


New Delhi: Gujarat’s firebrand Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that the vote-bank politics has ruined the country and the nation now needs development politics.

Gujarat BJP leader also mesmerized a vast gathering of students at the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) by appealing to the youths to make India a global brand.

"The solution to all problems is development. The whole nation has been destroyed by vote bank politics, what it needs is development. If there is developement there is much scope for a lot of improvement in the nation," Modi said.

“India must learn from global examples to become a global leader. The 21st century belongs to us. We just need to rebrand our country,” said Modi, who was later given a standing ovation for his inspiring speech..

Praising the development model of his state, the Gujarat BJP leader pitched for good governance as the model that will make India an economically developed nation.

Delivering a key note address as part of the Business Conclave being organised by the SRCC, the BJP leader said, “Good governance has been the hallmark of Gujarat’s development and it has to be the hallmark for India too, if it has to make its presence felt at the global level.”

“Even after six decades of independence, we have yet not achieved the concept of Swaraj- a dream cherished by Mahatma Gandhi. We need to harness the vast natural resources of the country and the untapped potential of our youths while making good governance as the main stay of our economic growth to achieve the goals of Swaraj,” he said.

Calling for an integrated approach in the concept of governance and development, Modi said, “Our biggest challenge is to utilize the opportunities available to us to its fullest potential.”

Calling on the youths to come forward and participate in the process of the nation building, Modi said, “There is an environment of pessimism in the country, which needs to end. We need to be optimistic.”



Displaying his excellent oratory skills, the Gujarat Chief Minister said, “Europe and China are ageing but India is a nation of youths. But our biggest challenge is to make the maximum use of the youth power.

“The youth should not be looked upon as mere new-age voters,” he said,

Packaging his speech with wit and humour he said, “India is no longer a nation of snake charmers. We have now become mouse-charmers (referring to India’s growth in the computer software development).”

Picking up a glass of water, he said an optimist would say the glass is half full, while a pessimist would say it is half empty.

"I have a third point of view. For me the glass is always full -- half with water and half with air. We can turn over the situation," he said.

Recalling the success story of his state, “We have worked hard to transform Gujarat into one of India’s most developed state. You may have heard about Vibrant Gujarat summit. We worked very hard for it. You read of Vibrant Gujarat Summit but that is held for two days once in two years. Every year, we hold Krishi Mahotsav.”

“Gujarat was a desert state, we depend on rains. In the past 10 years, the state has shown 10 % plus growth in agriculture. We are not a poor country. We are rich in natural resources. We just need to utilize them for an equitable growth,” he said.



The BJP leader’s visit to the college has invited protests in the campus by Leftist students group.

Members of the Left leaning All India Students Federation (AISF) are demonstrating outside the college to protest against Modi’s visit to the college. Scores of students, who have gathered outside the SRCC, are raising slogans of ''Narendra Modi Go Away''. The protesting students say that they are against Gujarat's development model.

Members of the BJP-backed National Democratic Teachers' Front (NDTF) have gathered to welcome Modi and raising slogans in praise of the Gujarat Chief Minister.

Vote-bank politics has ruined India, it now needs development: Narendra Modi
 

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