New Delhi: Ignoring protests outside, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday used a college platform to project himself nationally saying his focus was on development politics and not that of vote-bank, which he said has "ruined" the nation.
As protesters opposed to his visit clashed with police outside the Shri Ram College of Commerce here, he sought to commend the Gujarat model of governance to the rest of the country.
Modi, who is being projected by some BJP leaders as a Prime Ministerial candidate, contended that there was a sense of despondency all over the country and exuded confidence that the situation can be changed.
"There is a sense of despondency in the country. People feel nothing would change here. All are thieves, everything they do is waste. People consider it a curse to be born in India. They want to leave the country soon after completing their studies," Modi said delivering the Shri Ram Memorial Oration.
His extempore speech was telecast live by news channels.
"But my thought is different. I am Chief Minister for a fourth term and based on my experience, with the same law, same Constitution, same rules and regulations, same officers, same people, same files, we can move forward. We can do a lot. I am confident that we can change things," he said.
"This nation is being ruined by vote bank politics. This nation requires development politics. If we switch to politics of development, we will soon be in a position to bring about lasting change and progress," Modi said.
Outside the college, students carrying placards like 'Killer Modi', 'Go Back Modi' opposed the invitation by the College to Modi. They tried to break the police cordon and were baton-charged.
Modi said by raising the Full Reservoir Level of the dam the storage capacity of the dam will get enhanced to 46.8 lakh acre feet (almost three times the present capacity) and would facilitate creation of an additional irrigation potential of 6.8 lakh ha and nearly 40 per cent additional power generation.
Modi urged the Prime Minister to facilitate clearance for the long-pending project as early as possible.
Raising the issue of desert development programme (DDP) areas facing severe water problems than areas covered under the drought prone areas programme (DPAP), he said the Centre was strangely not providing assistance under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit programme (AIBP), even though it provides 90 per cent assistance in DPAP areas.
The Chief Minister said Gujarat has very large areas in Saurashtra and Kutch under DDP which falls under command areas of Sardar Sarovar and the state has made all out efforts to bring water to these areas to improve the lives of people.
He noted that the Planning Commission chaired by Prime Minister supports the proposal to bring DDP areas at par with DPAP areas but the same has not been approved by the Government of India.
Modi also raised the issues of regulating BT cotton seed prices which adversely affected the farmers in Gujarat, flip flop in allowing cotton export, non-payment of royalty on crude oil as per statutory provisions, coal allocation to Gujarat from nearer coal mines of Western Coal fields for power generation and complete waiver on custom duty in ship breaking industry.
He said most issues not only adversely affected the economic growth and development of the State but also put common people especially farmers and marginalized sections of society in very difficult and distressful conditions.
The Gujarat Chief Minister, who had called on President Pranab Mukherjee last month, wanted the Prime Minister to look into the demand for completion of the canal network on Narmada river to provide water to farmers.
"As per the Government of India norms Gujarat should get this. I requested him that Gujarat should get the same benefits that other states get," he said.
Modi maintained that several other issues were also discussed.
"The Prime Minister has assured me that he will himself look into these issues and will take decisions for the welfare of the people," he said.
Students protest outside Sri Ram College for hosting Modi
A group of students today protested outside the Sri Ram College of Commerce here for hosting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The protesters belonging to unions affiliated to Left and other political parties raised slogans against Modi and the institution for inviting him to address the students.
Members of the Democratic Students Union marched from the Faculty of Arts of the Delhi University to Sri Ram College of Commerce in protest against Modi's visit to the varsity.
Let's 'rebrand India'
Asserting that there is an overwhelming feeling of pessimism in India, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the biggest challenge is to use human resources to its full potential.
Lauding good governance in Gujarat, Modi urged the youth to make proper use of opportunity
"Even after 60 years of independence, India is still worried about getting ' Swaraj'. If we want to make a place in the global bandwagon of progress, Swaraj should be the focus. By Swaraj, I mean good governance. By good governance I mean, pro-people - pro government," Modi told the students at Delhi University's prestigious Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) here.
"Today there is an atmosphere of hopelessness. Everyone thinks they want to run away. This is my fourth term as Chief Minister of Gujarat, and from that experience I know that even with the present set up, we can make progress and achieve much more. I am a very positive man, I believe that we can change the situation," he added.
Modi further said 'in spite of being a young country we are being unable to use the opportunities we have'.
"We are not a poor country. We are rich in natural resources. We are not using our resources properly. Our challenge is use them fully. We have huge natural resources, but we have been unable to exploit them," said Modi.
"We have developed our state on three pillars, agricultural, industry and service sector. Even if one pillar fails, the other two can support the economy of the state.
The state, which spent years in water scarcity, is now creating history with surplus agriculture. My Vibrant Gujarat Summit happens once in two years, but every year I hold a farmers' festival," he added, while listing the achievements of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Government in Gujarat.
In his public address in the national capital after achieving a thumping electoral win in Gujarat in December 2012, Modi also recalled the contributions of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and Sadar Vallabhai Patel to the Indian freedom struggle.
"I come from the land of Gujarat, from the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Vallabhai Patel. A lot of great men spent their lives in jail to free the country. Two streams of thought influenced our freedom struggle - non-violence and armed revolution.
Many leaders sacrificed a lot for our independence," he said.
'Modi, go away'
Prior to his visit to the prestigious college, Modi faced protests from Left wing students, who openly opposed his Gujarat development model.
The students, who raised slogans of 'Narendra Modi Go Away', were later baton charged by the police personnel. Delhi Police has imposed Section 144 in the area.
The students were protesting "Modi's refusal to apologise for the Gujarat carnage and the horrible treatment and repression that minorities in Gujarat have been subjected to since 2002". They said that they do not want to endorse Modi's model of development by allowing him to speak at the funtion.
Meets PM, seeks parity in gas pricing
Modi met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh earlier in the day.
Modi, who met the Prime Minister for the first time after the December elections last year, said the 45-minute meeting was a good one.
"The Prime Minister has assured me that he will be providing all necessary help for the people of Gujarat," Modi told reporters after the meeting at the Prime Minister's 7 Race Course Road residence in the Capital.
"It was a good meeting. We spoke for quite a while on various issues," he said.
"I met the Prime Minister after the formation of the new government. The meeting was very good. We had a long discussion on various issues," he said.
Modi also gave Manmohan Singh a memorandum on issues related to the Sardar Sarovar Dam during the meeting.
A Gujarat government spokesperson said Modi discussed further raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam and sought the Prime Minister's intervention on permission for construction of spillway piers to full height, bridge and installation of gates at the dam site.
Modi said he also spoke to Manmohan Singh on the issue of differential gas pricing in Mumbai and Gujarat.
"We are having a legal fight with the centre. The gas price in Mumbai and Gujarat was different. We had gone to court and won. But the centre had approached Supreme Court and efforts are being made to delay the implementation of the order."
"The Prime Minister has assured me that he will look into all these issues himself and try to expedite the decisions," he said.
The Gujarat Chief Minister's visit to the national capital assumes significance in the wake of growing clamour in the BJP that he should be named as the party's 2014 prime ministerial candidate.