I feel I can learn a lot from Kolkata and take those things back to Gujarat: Gujarat CM Narendra Modi
Moneylife Digital Team 09 April 2013

Modi in his speech in Kolkata felt that India's federal structure is being overlooked by the UPA government in Delhi, and that West Bengal and Gujarat have common problems to face

Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was critical of the UPA government at the Centre in today’s context, and the Congress rule in Gujarat before he took over as chief minister. He felt that the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal has similar problems after years of CPI (M) rule. “In Gujarat, I spent 10 years in filling potholes which the Congress created ... here, they (Left government) made potholes for 30 years but the present (Mamata Banerjee-led) government is going in the right direction,” Modi said. He was sharp in his words on the Central assistance, “The federal structure is being toyed with. UPA states are getting beneficial treatment.” He traced back to the BJP government at Delhi and said, “During Atalji's time, when the left ruled Bengal, not once did the state government complain of unfair treatment.”


Modi closed the argument on Centre-state relations for development projects by saying, “The Government of India cannot be biased towards states. It should form rules which it thinks are right.” On credit taken for achievements, he said, “If a state does something good, the Government of India rushes to take credit, but in times of difficulty, all blame is put on the states.”


Modi made a happy entry into West Bengal and made his first speech to the members of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bharat Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata after visiting Dakshineswar Kali Temple and Belur Math. He remarked, “I feel I can learn a lot from Kolkata and take those things back to Gujarat.” Rajiv Mundra, president of Indian Chambers of Commerce, Ashok Aikat, president, Bharat Chamber of Commerce and prominent businessman Deepak Jalan were there in Kolkata to host Modi.


He was all-praise for West Bengal saying, “Knowledge era came to Bengal in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the world talks about the 21st century as the Century of Knowledge.” Modi added, “I am glad to have had these experiences in the 150th birth anniversary year of Swami Vivekananda.”


Encouraging industrialists at his Kolkata venue, Modi said, “Bengal's development will lead to the development of Eastern and North-eastern India.” For the media covering his speech his remark was, “request the media to think that I am speaking in Ahmedabad so that there will be no comparison between governments.”


Speaking on the problems faced by Gujarat, Modi said, “Gujarat has desert, we face water scarcity, only Narmada and Tapti are perennial rivers.” Yet, Gujarat has done reasonably well. He pointed out, “Government of India has not been able to achieve 4% agri growth. Gujarat's average growth rate for the last decade has been 10%.” He said that Gujarat has worked hard to try to attract investment from industrialists present in his home state. He concluded his speech with thunderous applause.


Lastly, Modi’s remark on Bengal being a more attractive tourist destination than Gujarat may be recalled with his words, “Like Durga Puja, we have navaratri, people from all over the world come to see Durga puja, but not Navaratri.”

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