New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi reached out to women of the country while addressing the annual general meeting of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in the national capital on Monday and lauded their role in the society.
Touching the sensitive issue of gender discrimination in his speech, the Gujarat leader said, “In the 21st century, girls are aborted inside a mother's womb. We should not differentiate between sons and daughters.”
“Our ideas have only deteriorated with education, we are becoming more medieval than we were in the 18th century,” Modi said, adding, “We call river Ganga our mother, India is also mother India.”
Speaking of women’s power, Modi said, “A woman, a mother holds the highest position, highest regard in our country. Men often underestimate the female members of their family. Women are two steps ahead of men. We need to recognise their power.”
Speaking about the rising cases of female infanticide, the Gujarat Chief Minister said, “It is shocking that even in 21st century female infanticide is taking place. Girls are aborted in India and even in Gujarat.”
“Both men and women have to play a role in curbing the rising cases of female foeticide and infanticide,” he said.
During his power-packed speech, the firebrand BJP leader talked about Jassu Ben’s pizza, which is more popular than Pizza Hut, and leading dairy brand Amul, which is headed by a woman. He termed all this as a classic example of women power.
Modi said that he doesn't agree with westerners’ view that in India women are good as housewives. It's our role as a part of this society to promote and give power to women, he stated.
“Every woman has entrepreneur qualities and values. Women will become stakeholders in decision-making if they are financially independent,” he said.
Modi said that in Gujarat's schools, the authorities ask for the mother's name for the child's admission, not the father's. He also stated that his government levies no stamp duty on any property registered in a woman’s name.
“In Gujarat, if anyone buys property on the name of the woman of their family, they will not have to pay the stamp duty,” he said.
We gave houses to those affected by the Gujarat earthquake in the name of the woman in the family. It should not only be for financial interest, the mindset should also change about women, he quizzed.
When asked about his weaknesses, he said that he is not aware of them since he focuses on his strengths only. Earlier, Modi thanked the social media for enabling him to connect with the women citizens of India.
The Gujarat leader made these remarks while addressing the ladies’ wing of the industry lobby on the topic “Unleash the entrepreneur within; exploring new avenues”.
The Gujarat Chief Minister’s speech was to be held at FICCI’s head quarter in Delhi but was shifted to a five-star hotel. The hall could accommodate only about 350 people but due to the interest generated, the venue was shifted to hotel with larger accommodation, the reports said.
Narendra Modi’s appointment with FICCI comes close on the heels of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's address to another industry body, CII on Thursday.
Both Gandhi and Modi are seen as prime ministerial candidates from their respective parties, the Congress and BJP. So, comparisons between the two leaders are inevitable.
First Published: Monday, April 8, 2013, 08:38