Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Taking a dig at Dr Manmohan Singh, Bharatiya Janata party`s prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said he backed the Prime Minister for saying that good times are ahead.
In an apparent reference to the upcoming General Elections, Modi said it will take another few months for "good days" to usher in.
Before addressing the plenary session of 12th edition of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the largest gathering of Indian diaspora in the world, Modi, who aspires to become the country`s next Prime Minister, got a round of applause. "The Prime Minister had said a good thing during his speech here yesterday (Wednesday at the PBD) that there is no need to despair and good times are due to come,” Modi said.
He drew loud applause and laughter from the packed audience at the Vigyan Bhavan here when he said, "I don`t need to say anything more... we may have to wait a few months, five or six. But I sincerely feel that good times are coming," referring to the time when a new central government will assume office.
On Wednesday, the PM said India is changing in a significant way and asked over 22 million expatriate community, the world’s second largest, to stay engaged in the future of the country with confidence and optimism.
Modi further hailed the Indian diaspora, saying that NRIs should not be weighed in just dollars and pounds. He underlined that the experience gained by the NRIs should be invested to give new direction to the nation.
"When we talk about NRIs, we think that they will bring dollars and pounds. Our Indian brothers and sisters should not be weighed in dollars and pounds," Modi said at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.
"They have a different work culture, global exposure, knowledge and experience. This experience can take us in a new direction," he said.
Modi referred to two major events in history in which the diaspora had come together to support the country - one was during the 1975 emergency and the second the 1998 nuclear test by the BJP-led NDA government.
"There are two events when the diaspora took a proactive role and with self-initiative stressed their Bharatiyata (Indianness)," said Modi.
"One was the 1975 Emergency, when all the Indians abroad got together and pushed for democracy. The second was the nuclear test by Vajpayeeji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee)," he said, adding that all the Indian diaspora had put their weight behind India to support the move and against the sanctions imposed by the US.
He said the two incidents stand out for the participation of the Indian diaspora.
He said with the General Elections round the corner he was observing renewed enthusiasm among Indians abroad to participate.
"India faces a watershed election in a few months. At this crucial juncture in our nation`s history, you too should not stay back. You must be a part of the revolution taking place. Try and come back to vote at the time of elections. If that is not possible, actively engage with the political process from wherever you are," he told NRIs.
Underlining that petty politics between states and Centre harms the nation, Modi felt happy that states were competing with each other and nations were wanting to deal with them directly instead through the Centre. Modi noted that focus has now been shifted from Central government to state authorities. The sharper this competition becomes, the better it is for the overall development of the country, Modi added.
"For a federal structure like India, I take this as a good indicative. I consider this as a good sign...An atmosphere has been created where there is healthy competition among states over development. It is good, as everyone feels we should deliver and move forward," he said.
He lamented that even after decades of independence, the country has not been able to make transition from "Swarajya" (freedom) to "Surajya" (good governance) and said morality has been thrown out of governance and trust has been the biggest victim.
As India completes 75 years of independence in 2022, Modi said it was possible that India develops to be globally competitive and admired as well as be locally inspiring and inclusive and gave the slogan of "United India - Grand India".
He also invoked Mahatma Gandhi for taking the nation forward and asked the Centre to celebrate his 150th birth anniversary five years later in a big way, as also the centenary year of Gandhi`s return to India.
The Gujarat CM also hailed his initiative to build “the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel statue so that the future generations remember his contribution to the country”.
“We did a programme on December 15, on the death of Mr Patel, and we had a `Run for Unity` and this run became a world record.”
“In the coming months in countries where Indians are living, we will take `run for unity` event abroad,” added Modi.
Seeking NRIs help for building Sardar Patel`s unity statue, Modi said: “If Sardar Patel was not there, may be we would need a Pakistani visa to see Gir lions.”
He also assured all NRIs that India will never let them down.
In his written speech distributed at the meet, Modi slammed the UPA government, saying, "The last decade in particular has witnessed unprecedented depths of petty politics, self interest and exploitation overwhelming the exalted principles of inclusive and sustainable nation building.”
"A deteriorating economy; unrelenting stream of scandals and corruption exposes; poor delivery of basic services; policy paralysis, stagnating society and an overall atmosphere of divisive politics - has severely hit the people`s perception of and trust in the government and its leaders."
To a question on corruption, he said the focus must change from dealing with the issue after surfacing of scams to that which helps to prevent corruption.
"There is a lot of post-corruption discussion in our country. Somebody talks about Lokpal or Jan Lokpal. We should change the focus on corruption and instead of focussing on post-corruption, we should take steps so that corruption does not take place," Modi said.
To remove corruption, he suggested that states must be policy-driven and rules should be in put in place in black and white and favoured the use of technology for bringing in transparency on the lines of what Gujarat has done.
Slamming the government, he said, "A government of Acts rather than Action, has paralysed India`s polity into one of promises over performance. Institutions have been destroyed. A misleading sense of entitlement has further highlighted the missing delivery mechanism."
He said the only thing holding back the nation brimming with potential and energy was the lack of good governance which "must change" and exhorted the country`s leadership to rise to the challenge and firmly place good governance and good administration on the agenda.
Notably, there is major support among the Indian American community for Modi, while a growing number also support Arvind Kejriwal`s Aam Admi Party, said a report.
The January 7-9 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi, of which FICCI is a partner, is aimed at enhancing networking and reinforcing commercial linkages among the diaspora. There are 25 million people of Indian origin residing outside India.
(With Agency inputs)