Narendra Modi: I am different, can bring change

Narendra Modi
In his first public address in Delhi after his re-election, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi told students of Shri Ram College of Commerce that "branding" and "packaging" were important in today's world, and sold himself repeatedly as a person who thinks "differently" and could bring "change".

His "Gujarat model" of "good governance" shunned "vote bank politics" and stressed on "development politics", Modi said during his hour-long speech. "The solution to all problems is development. The whole nation has been ruined by vote bank politics, what it needs is development. If there is development, there is much scope for improvement in the nation."

Amid growing calls for him to be made the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, the CM slammed the "sense of despondency" in the country. "People feel nothing will 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. "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."

Holding up a glass of water, he added that some would see it as half full, others half empty, but for him, "it has half water and half air".

Through the lecture as part of the Shri Ram Memorial Oration at the college, which was telecast live by many news channels, Modi did not make even a customary reference to the BJP-led NDA regime or other BJP governments which the saffron party projects as equally well governed states.

In what seemed a subtle message to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi as well as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,

Modi also said the political fraternity should not see the youth merely as "new age voters" nor indulge in such "vote bank politics". "For the people from the political world, youth are merely new age voters. I think differently. They should not be treated as new age voters, but new age power that can change things for the better," the CM said.

Highlighting his achievements in the fields of agriculture, industry and the services sector, Modi also gave a peak into his larger vision of running the government, that revolves around "miniumum government" and creating a conducive situation for companies to grow at a "fast speed".

"The government has no business doing business. Minimum government, maximum governance is my principle," the Gujarat CM said.

"If we have to compete against China," he went on, "global thrust needs to be given to three areas skill development is one key; work on very high scales; and act at very fast speed. We need to internalise this," Modi said, again citing the Gujarat example.

Stressing the need for India to leverage its "demographic opportunity" in the form of a young population, Modi also exhorted the students of the Delhi University college to seize the moment.

There were some protests outside the venue but inside he found a receptive audience.

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