Create brand India: Modi to youths

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 06, 2013 16:03 hrs

Amid protests outside the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) here over Narendra Modi's visit, the Gujarat Chief Minister on Wednesday pitched himself as the modern leader of youth as in an impassioned address to the students of the college, enriched with anecdotes of developmental politics, he urged youngsters to build India into a global brand overcoming the present sense of despair.

"We must try to make the Indian goods a brand itself," said Modi as he wooed the youngsters in his first major address to the ivy league students of the nation, even though the address became a target of political rivals.

The senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that even after six decades of independence, India is still worrying about getting ´Swaraj.´

"Gujarat´s progress and development model is cherished and discussed throughout the world. We have given a good governance (in Gujarat)," he said.

"Swaraj for me is good governance and for good governance, I follow P2G2, that is Pro-People - Pro Government," Modi said.

Modi said he believed in minimum government and maximum governance and admitted that the business of the government is not to do business but create facilities for the business community.

Speaking on the present Indian scenario, he said, "The country is in the middle of a despair. Many are giving up and want to escape the country. But I think differently. I can say from experience in Gujarat that the same people made it possible to move forward."

Modi, who is tipped to be a strong contender to emerge as BJP´s prime ministerial candidate for 2014 Lok Sabha polls, said the greatest challenge faced by the country at present is to utilise and channelise the opportunities since India has the youngest population in the world.

"We have so much natural resources in our country but we cannot use it properly. Our biggest challenge today is to use this natural resources effectively," the Gujarat Chief Minister said.

He said India is young with a large number of population below 35 years while Europe has more older people and China also follows suit.

Speaking on the issue of agricultural development in the Indian state, he said, "Gujarat has never been a land of agriculture, it has always been a desert. But we have made history with 10% growth in agriculture."

Modi said," We are the only exceptional state where water level is rising when the whole country is facing water scarcity."

He said the country has to focus on applying scientific knowledge on field. "People in Delhi drink milk that comes from Gujarat," Modi said.

He said the tomato available in Afghanistan is exported from Gujarat.

He said he divided Gujarat into three sectors- agriculture, industry and service- so that one can fall back on another .

Modi said his Gujarat is the ´safest´ place in the country.

Speaking on tourism, the leader said: "Gujarat was never a tourist destination. I have been trying for years and now tourism growth in the state is double the tourism growth in the whole country."

Connecting with Generation Next, he said once India was known as a country of snake charmers but now it is a nation of mouse charmers as he shared his anecdotes of foreign visits where he painted India differently.

"I want my country to consider the youth as new age power instead of new age voters," Modi said.

"I am not one for despair, I think positively," he said urging the youth to be on the forefront following the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and his vision of India and youth power.

"The 21st century is the century of knowledge and this century belongs to the country," the Gujarat CM said.

He said politics of vote bank should be replaced by politics of development and youth should be seen as power that as just new voters.

Modi said people in India should think in terms of largescale industry and execute projects very fast, as he gave example of an NRI investor with whom he did not share much chemistry in the first meeting but was astounded to find that he could set up a factory in 13 months in the state and started production in next six months.

"Can you believe what he produced? He makes something that every Delhi person is proud of. The coaches of the Delhi Metro. They all come from Gujarat. Here is an example of speedy execution of projects," said Modi.

With Modi connecting with youth, the ruling Congress party soon hit back at his speech and said the claims of Modi are contributions of modern people like the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

"To sum up in one line except for indulging in hyperbole his speech was not backed by any substance," said Congress spokesperson and union minister Manish Tewari.

Tewari said Modi was only blowing hot air and he genuinely tried to mislead in his speech which did not account for anything.

Ahead of his visit, large number of students assembled outside the SRCC here and protested against the visit of Modi.

The protesting students reportedly included members of the All India Students Federation (AISF).

The students shouted slogans against Modi and asked him to go back. They also hold banners and placards against the Gujarat Chief Minister.

Demonstrating against Modi, the students alleged that he was responsible for the infamous Gujarat riots of 2002 that left hundreds of Muslims dead, injured and tortured and came as a blot in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the state.

Modi earlier in the day met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here and called the visit a courtesy call.

He met the PM for the first time since he won the election and formed the government in Gujarat as the state´s Chief Minister.

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