New Delhi, February 8, 2013 The students of the Shri Ram College of Commerce discovered a new word on Wednesday ‘Modi-vational’. For seventy-five minutes, nearly two thousand college students were left spellbound by the oratory of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The cramped SRCC auditorium, the suffocating police bandobast or even the loud protests outside the college gates mattered little as the youngsters, mesmerised by Moditva, lapped up every word of his.
But even as Modi sold dreams of a prosperous future to the young audience, his party president Rajnath Singh harked back to the past during his address at the Mahakumbh in Allahabad.
Addressing an audience of seers, Singh said, “BJP a party which believes in Hindu values. The party is committed to the construction of Ram temple at Ram Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya. It is a cherished desire of millions of Hindus and the BJP would certainly like to do its bit in fulfiling it. “Modi, on the other hand, spoke like a statesman strike a chord with his young audience, whom he called “disciples of Google guru”. “Vote-bank politics has ruined the nation and India needed development politics,” he said while unfolding his vision of Brand India.
Development, progress and growth remained the keywords of Modi’s speech and he consciously avoided politically contentious issues throughout the address, barring oblique references to the CWG Games, poor law and order situation in Delhi and vote-bank politics.
Delivering the Shri Ram Memorial Oration on the topic “Emerging Business Models in the Global Scenario”, Modi stuck to the pattern that has characterised most of his speeches: hardselling the Gujarat model of development and moving on his dreams for the country.
“Good governance has been the hallmark of Gujarat’s development and it has to be India’s hallmark too, if it has to make its presence felt at the global level,” he said.
He lamented that there was an atmosphere of despondency in the country due to corruption, economic stagnation and poor governance. “But I am an optimist. India can overcome these challenges only if it capitalises on the opportunities it has, “he 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.
The main reason why his speech struck a chord with the audience, who even gave him a standing ovation, was because of his emphasis on the youth and the way he could connect with them.
I am concerned that a section of the society, especially those in the political class, consider India’s youth as only new-age voters. India should accept them as new-age power and not just newage voters,”he said. “65 per cent of the population below 35 years of age. Europe has grown old, China is old, but India is young. Unfortunately, we have not been able to harness such a big demographic opportunity,”he said.
Peppering his speech with one-liners, Modi termed the country’s youth as “mouse-charmers”. We are no longer a country of snake-charmers, we have become a country of mouse-charmers. Our youth are ruling the world with their mastery of the mouse,” he said.
Explaining his economic ideas to the audience, comprising largely students and teachers of commerce and economics, Modi said, Gujarat’s development model is built on three pillars -agriculture, industry and services sector, with even development in all the three areas. If there is a problem in one, the other two step up support so that growth doesn’t stop.”
Having achieved a production of over a crore bales of cotton, it was important to avoid stagnation and ensure their prosperity. This was being done with help of a simple five F formula: Farmer to fibre; fibre to fabric; fabric to fashion and fashion to foreign. He also had a three S formula for the country’s progress: Skill development, scale and speed.
Manufacturing, Modi asserted, should be a special area of focus for the country. “The world considers India a huge market where they can dump their products. We should make our manufacturing sector efficient so that we can convert the world into a market and begin dumping our products there,” advised.
He did not desist from taking the occasional dig at the United Progressive Alliance government. “When South Korea organised the Olympics, the world came to recognise the country as economic power. We had organised the Commonwealth Games but even the organisers don’t know why we organised them,” he said.
However, there were vociferous protests outside the SRCC gates by various student outfits. Recalling the 2002 riots, the protesters carried placards like “Killer Modi”, “Go Back Modi” and shouted slogans against him.
Commenting on Modi’s speech, Union minister for information and broadcasting Manish Tewari said he was misleading the nation. “Well, the chief minister of Gujarat made a reference to a cliche called P2 and G2 when he referring to Gujarat model of development. P2 essentially stands for platitudes personified patting oneself on the back when one has no achievements account for. G2 would mean Geo global. I am surprised the chief minister of Gujarat in his entire speech made no reference of Gujarat pogrom which continues to be a blot and stain on the fair name of the state,â Tewari said.
Congress Spokesperson Rashid said Modi was indirectly giving credit to the Congress. “From being dubbed a country of snake charmers to become a country of mouse charmers’, the credit goes to the Congress. It was the dream of the late PM Rajiv Gandhi to take the country to 21st century,” he said.