Mumbai: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday accused the UPA government of "degrading" constitutional institutions and endangering the federal structure of the country. "All our constitutional institutions are being degraded. If we don't give strength to our constitutional institutions, all systems will be finished," Modi said. "A democracy functions according to systems. It cannot be based on individuals. People may come and go, but the system of democracy is there. Democracy should be system-centric, not people-centric," he said, addressing an interactive session in Mumbai on Thursday evening.
"The country cannot function as per the whim of an individual," he said. "The federal system is our biggest strength. There should be no scratch on it. For the unity and integrity of the country, it should be our prime responsibility to protect the sanctity of our federal structure," he said. "However, the sad thing is, those sitting in Delhi today are damaging the federal structure. I feel this is a big danger for the country," Modi said. In an apparent reference to the Supreme Court's remarks over the CBI's status report on the coal scam, Modi said, "Today, the country is drowning in coal. I fear that the hands of the Supreme court may get blackened in this. "The Supreme Court has to intervene so much. No one trusts anyone. What have you turned CBI into?" he said.
Speaking of the anti-government sentiment among people, Modi said, "What is happening today in the country is an expression of the public angst. People cannot bear to see the bad things happening to the country. They see that the country's boat is sinking. "It is not a question of who will do the job, but whether we would like to see our country in this hapless situation," Modi said. "The public knows everything." Asked when would he be going to Delhi (to become PM), Modi quipped, "No, no. Today, at least, I have to go to Ahmedabad."
Backing a 'PPPP' (people public private partnership) model for development, Modi said, "What was termed as (economic) reform was actually a mere reversal of the government's earlier wrong policies." Once Gujarat was a traders' state but now it is a manufacturing state, Modi said. The agriculture in Gujarat had registered an average growth of around 10 per cent in the last ten years, he said. The Centre has adopted Gujarat's skill-development model, he said.
Earlier, just around 1,200 hectares of land was under drip irrigation in Gujarat, but now over nine lakh hectares was under drip irrigation, he said. Modi also spoke of his dream project, the proposed statue of Sardar Patel, which would be 182 metres tall. It will be called the "Statue of Unity" and would be twice the size of the Statue of Liberty in the US, he said. Modi informed that he had spoken to the PM about starting a high-speed bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. "No one can deny the strides Gujarat has made as far as development is concerned. But some have problem in acknowledging this due to political reasons," he said.
Modi blamed the UPA government for not allowing Gujarat to install gates at the Sardar Sarovar project, which he claimed can lead to increased power supply to Maharashtra. "Maharashtra Government, which is facing power shortage, is bearing a loss of Rs 400 crore because the Centre is not taking a decision on this," he said. On China, Modi said there was no need to worry. "The world is focusing on Asia. There are two things where India has an edge over China... First, over 65 per cent of India's population is below 35 years of age, which is not the case with China. Two, we have the democratic dividend, which gives us the power to beat China."