The chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, has urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to accept the fact that the economy was in the throes of a major crisis while lashing out at the Congress-led UPA government for sending “enforcement agencies” after business houses with investments in Gujarat.
“Firstly, the government should stop painting a rosy picture. If the prime minister accepts the reality, he can find an answer. But the problem is that he does not believe in what he is doing. He is not able to take even those decisions made by him to their logical end,” Modi told The Economic Times in a rare interview to a national publication, during the course of which he repeatedly refused to be drawn into discussing widespread speculation on his alleged ambition of leading the Bharatiya Janata Party’s efforts to oust the UPA government in the 2014 general elections.
“I am busy with making things better in Gujarat… I am not here on a career agenda,” he said. Modi, 61, who first became chief minister in October 2001, mocked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the top UPA leadership for feeble governance, claiming that foreign governments now preferred to deal directly with state governments such as his. “They (the Centre) don’t want the state government to perform and they place hurdles.
This is naturally making the investor jittery. They (investors) want to work with state governments, but the Centre is playing the obstructionist,” Modi said. “Two former prime ministers of Japan were in Gujarat to talk about business.” In the recent past, the chief minister, who has been denied a US visa for his alleged role in the communal riots of 2002, has often directly taken on the PM and the Congress leadership, stoking speculation that he was keen on being anointed as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Modi’s supposed national ambitions have been in the limelight after his rival Sanjay Joshi was forced to resign from the BJP’s national executive ahead of a meeting in Mumbai. Modi, who had reportedly made Joshi’s exit a pre-condition for attending the Mumbai meeting, subsequently dominated proceedings.
His seeming ascendency, while largely welcomed by the party’s cadres among whom he is wildly popular, has also bared the rifts in the principal opposition party. Senior leader Sushma Swaraj did not attend a rally in Mumbai and party patriarch LK Advani has expressed his discomfiture at the state of affairs. In the conversation with this paper, Modi declined to comment on the infighting, including the sudden appearance of articles critical of him in publications linked to the BJP and RSS.
“You can ask me about it in 10,000 ways, but I will give the same answer – that I am busy with governance in Gujarat.” Modi also criticised alleged illtreatment of investors in Gujarat by police agencies controlled by the Union government.
Shadow of 2002 Communal Riots
“The Centre went to the extent of unleashing enforcement agencies on those who promised investments in Gujarat at the Vibrant Gujarat meet. They should stop preaching and do what they are expected to do – govern.”
(curtsey: economic times)
Rupesh Yatesh Dalal
Head Research Department