New Delhi: "Don't leave, speak a little more," shouted students at the Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi, as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi finished his hour-long address and prepared to leave. According to the college student union's vice-president, the 62-year-old was able to successfully connect with them.
In his address that lasted nearly an hour, Modi interwove facts, figures and statistics with anecdotes, jokes and wit to drive home his agenda - that he was the man of the moment, that he was the solution to all the problems the country faces, that he alone could lift India out of the quagmire it currently finds itself in.
"You go to Singapore. You will find milk from Gujarat there. You go to Afghanistan. You will find tomatoes from Gujarat there. You go to Europe. The okra you eat there will be from Gujarat," Modi said as he explained his model of governance to the students. The young audience listened in rapt attention as he spoke about his P2G2 model of governance - Pro-people good governance.
In his first public address since his re-election as the Gujarat CM, Modi cleverly interwove facts and figures with wit to drive home his agenda.
Beginning his speech by saying that he belonged to the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, Modi said that India was still lacking in self-governance, 60 years after gaining Independence. "India got Independence in 1947. But even after six decades, the country is still looking for good governance. We have failed in this field. This has created a negative environment all around. There is disappointment all around us. People say that every one is a thief. The youth want to leave the country."
Modi exhorted the youth to take charge. "We can go ahead and help the nation develop despite all the negative things." Lifting a glass of water that was kept for him, he said, "For me the glass is always half-full, not half-empty. I am hopeful. We can change the situation."
Speaking about the youth power and the challenges the country faced, Modi said India needed to optimally use its resources. "There are two challenges. We have youth power. But we are unable to use it. We have huge natural resources, but we are unable to exploit these natural resources for the development of the country."
Modi said that the Gujarat model of governance was based on the three economic sectors - 1/3rd Agriculture, 1/3rd Industry and 1/3rd Service sector. He said that the Gujarat government gave primary attention to agriculture. "Gujarat used to be a water deficient state. But its agricultural growth has been more than 10 per cent in the last decade. Water level is decreasing all over India but in Gujarat it is increasing. The Gujarat government organises an exhibition every May for the development of agriculture. We have invested hugely in it," he said to loud applause from the audience.
Modi made a strong pitch for making India the 21st century power. "The 21st century is the century of knowledge and I believe it can be India's century. The youth is the new age power for the country. It has to be harnessed. Let us make 'Made in India' a global brand. Let us upgrade the technology and make the world our dumping markets. Till now India was considered a land of snake charmers and black magic. However, the youth changed all that. The youth forced the world to change its outlook towards India, to change its perceptions about our country. It was not the political leaders who did anything towards it".
Modi also emphasised upon the need to have better teachers and a stronger educational system. "Gujarat has a forensic science university, which is the only one of its kind in the world. I have laid a lot of emphasis on improving educational standards in Gujarat. In 2000, we had 11 universities, Now we have 42 universities in the state. India needs good teachers and Gujarat has set up an university to train teachers."
Modi ended his speech by drawing a clear line between 'government' and 'governance'. He said, "Minimum government and maximum governance is my creed. The government has no business to do business. The country has been ruined because of vote-bank politics. We can change the situation. The answer to any problem is development. And for that we should have skill, scale and speed. It's time for development politics."
The ruling party remained unimpressed with the Gujarat Chief Minister's address. Congress leader Manish Tiwari asked why Modi had not mentioned the 2002 riots. "The pogrom was a blot on his government. Why didn't he mention that?"
Rashid Alvi said, "Modi has said nothing new. Rajiv Gandhi had said the same thing long back that 21st century will belong to India."