Modi tears into Centre at Kolkata meet

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Narendra Modi
Kolkata, April 9: Gujarat Chief Minister addressed the Bengal industry captains in Kolkata on Tuesday. He presented a detailed view on his state's development and many other national issues. His words were packed with humour and yet never lacked the punch aimed at the Opposition.

12.00 pm

Narendra Modi takes questions from the audience. He speaks on foreign policy, tourism, health, pollution and many other issues.

11.55 am

"I had told the PM to set up such an arrangement in the Indo-Pak border so that it serves the border patrolling and also produces power. He didn't bother." He slams the Centre over the recent Italian marines case and also handling Pakistan in the wake of the beheading of Indian soldiers. He mocks former foreign minister S M Krishna for reading out some other's script at an international forum.

He concludes his speech saying Bengal has an immense potential. He refers to Swami Vivekananda in his speech as well.

11.49 am

"Gujarat was once a revenue-deficit state but is a revenue-surplus state today". "We also have excess power."

"When I took over in 2001, people asked me to ensure that power didn't go out at the time of dinner. I have ensured that". It's a news if there is a power-cut in Gujarat. In many parts of many other states, it is news if there is power. He criticised the central government for the power woes.

11.45 am

"We have worked on automobile industry and now backing solar energy industry. Once people were afraid about it but now Gujarat has the largest solar energy hub in Asia.Gujarat's initiative has changed the market for solar energy in the country. It has changed the mindset."

11.43 am

Modi speaks on service sector. "Gujarat was never a tourist destination like West Bengal but we stressed on that. Now Gujarat's tourism growth is double than that of the entire country. Amitabh Bachchan goes to every household and says Kucch Din to Gujaro Gujarat Mein. Then why don't you spend some days in Gujarat?"

11.40 am

Narendra Modi flays the Centre for putting a curb on cotton export. He speaks on 5-F textile model (Farm to Fibre, Fibre to Fabric, Fabric to Fashion, Fashion to Foreign). He said the Gujarat government did not increase its taxes for the last 12 years.

11.35 am

Modi stresses addition of technology in the realm of agriculture. It helps to have a real-time data on issues related to agriculture, said Modi. Modi emphasises on animal husbandry in his state. "Gujarat is perhaps the only state in the country where animals undergo cataract operation."

11.31 am

"We promoted micro-irrigation in Gujarat and today 7 lakh hectares are under such type of irrigation."

11.28 am

Modi highlights how Gujarat, despite all disadvantages, did well in improving agricultural output. The state's agricultural production increased by 10 per cent in the last two decades. "The common man's condition doesn't improve until the per capita income improves and for that you need to have a development model". Subsidies can't help agricultural sector.

11.20 am

"Whenever a state does well, the Centre shows it to be a good work of itself but whenever a state does poorly, the Centre slams it. This has to stop or the country's unity will be threatened. West Bengal has been deprived."

11.18 am

"There was a hope when Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government was there. But now it all looks uncertain.Discrimination is being made by the Centre towards the non-UPA states. We need to raise a voice against the Centre's discrimination."He also takes a dig at Gujarat Governor Kamla Beiwal, calls her a Delhi-appointed agent.

11.14 am

"I have not come here to compare the achievements of the two states. That is something I do during the elections."

"It took me 10 years for me to undo the harm that was made by the Congress in Gujarat. Bangal has undergone three decades of misrule. It will take a long time for those in power to overcome this." Modi also takes a dig at the UPA government at the Centre, accuses it of not doing any work. "They are not even bothered."

11.07 am

Modi praises West Bengal's glorious history and intellectual prowess. "Every second name in the list of prisoners of the Cellular Jail was that of a Bengali. Bengal has given so much for the freedom struggle of India. If we need to take eastern and north-east India to a great height, it has to start from Bengal"

11.01 am

Modi takes over. "The way the presidents have given me the task to set up the agenda, it will take me weeks. You will also have to  shut your factory and sit here." Audience claps in applause. Modi takes a dig at the state's work culture.

"I had gone to the Dakshineswar Temple and Belur Math in the morning. I will learn a lot of things from the people of Kolkata and implement them in my state."

10:45 am

Presidents of the three chambers of commerce give introductory speech one by one.

10.42 am

Narendra Modi is felicitated with bouquet, shawl and the complete volumes of the work of Swami Vivekananda. He is also facilitated by the presidents of the three business forums organising the programme, namely, Indian Chamber of Commerce, MCC Chamber of Commerce and the Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

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