Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate in the upcoming general elections for the lead opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seeks to develop new smart cities, a national gas grid, bring bullet trains and kick-start second-generation infrastructure investment in the country.
Addressing party workers at BJP’s strategy conclave for 2014 in Delhi during the weekend, Modi spelled out his vision statement which included a slew of measures to fight inflation, spread higher education and build new set of infrastructure in India.
Identifying price rise as the biggest problem for a country, Modi hinted at the creation of a price stabilisation fund while stressing on the need for real time data on the agriculture produce.
Modi said farmers should not be exploited. And there should be special courts for black marketers.
“If we take these steps, BJP will be able to stop price rise,” he said.
Referring to the need for human resource planning he said if we plan human power strength now itself, we will be able to achieve development in coming years.
While stressing on the need to strengthen primary education, Modi also talked about spreading the network of country’s top higher education institutes related to engineering, medicine and business management. He said we should have an IIT, IIM and AIIMS in every city in the country.
Modi also talked about kick-starting second-generation infrastructure projects with agro infrastructure, national gas grids and spread of optical fibre to boost broadband penetration.
“Japan brought the concept of bullet trains. We have such a huge railway line, why are we not applying it there too?” he asked.
Modi said we should have four railway universities that will give us the youth who will help us achieve that.
The Gujarat chief minister also talked about developing 100 new smart cities in India.
“Why shouldn't there be a walk to work concept? Specialised cities like sports cities. There should be concept of twin cities, a net of cities in our country,” he said.
Modi also pointed out that we as a country worry about disease but not health and borrowing an idea from the US where Obamacare or the national healthcare plan has split the political system into two, said, “We need health insurance for everyone.”
He also talked about branding and how tourism has a lot of potential: “Tourism has a lot of power...terrorism divides, tourism unites.”
Modi said we need to provide shelter to every poor in the country and stressed on driving efficiency in agriculture.
“Per drop, more crop concept should be realised,” he said, adding that we should ensure a white revolution in every city.
He also took jibes at Congress and some recent comments on him by leaders of the ruling party.
Talking about the much anticipated Congress meet which was expected to name the ruling party’s next PM candidate, Modi said, “Congress workers came for a PM, went home with three cylinders instead,” referring to Rahul Gandhi’s proposal to give three more subsidised LPG gas cylinders to every household every year.
“Loktantrik example was cited for not nominating PM candidate. Is it true? No one chose Manmohan Singh as PM, they chose Sonia Gandhi but Ms Gandhi nominated Dr Singh. There can be many reasons to run from elections for Ms Gandhi, I see political reasons but I see one more reason. When failure is so clear, will a mother sacrifice her own son?”—arguing that Congress chief shielded her son from going head-on with Modi in the elections.
Giving his view of the upcoming elections, he said, “This is not an election to change the government, but it is an election of hope and change. They (Congress led coalition) are trying to save the party and we are trying to save the country. This is the difference in the 2014 elections.”
Talking exception to ruling party leader mocking Modi’s past life as a tea vendor, he said, “Their reason for running away from elections can be one more, the way of life that they lead, it influences their decisions. They consider it a question of shame to fight against a tea vendor. A man who used to sell tea and whose mother used to clean people's utensils; how will they fight against a person like that?”
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)