Prime Minister Narendra Modi has changed the “scale and size” of the schemes initiated by the Centre and gave GDP “a human face” during his seven-year tenure, Home Minister Amit Shah said on Wednesday. Shah also said that Modi who developed Gujarat as a model state was chosen by the BJP as a prime ministerial candidate at a time when the country was facing a severe leadership crisis.
“Terms like good governance, change, reforms, or economic development would not resolve the problems faced by the country. It’s not just administration… the leader has to handle development, preserve and take forward the culture of the country, ensure security — all these can be done only by a leader who is backed by people. Only those who come from the ground and sense the pain of the poor only can change it,” said Shah while speaking at the national conference on Delivering Democracy: Review of two decades of Narendra Modi as head of Two Governments, organised by Rambhau Mhagi Prabodhini.
The Home Minister reiterated that Modi’s reforms in the education sector in Gujarat laid the foundation for the state’s development. “I have been trolled for saying this.. But I want to say this again. Unpadhon ki fauj lekar koi desh vikas nahi kar sakta… Those who are not conscious of the rights in the Constitution and their duties cannot take part in the development of the nation.”
“This (his similar remarks earlier) was interpreted in a manner that I am against the uneducated. I am not against them… in fact I believe they are the victims of the system. Educating them is the responsibility of the system and those who are not doing it are irresponsible,” Shah said.
In an interview with Sansad TV on 20 years of Narendra Modi being in power, first as the chief minister of Gujarat and then as the Prime Minister of India, Shah spoke about how the current government has contributed towards increasing enrollment in schools. Calling people who are not educated a “burden on the country”, he has said that “illiterate people could never become a good citizen of India”.
Addressing the conference he said that although our forefathers envisaged a multi-party system as the best choice for Indian democracy, people have taken a courageous decision to give a majority to Modi-led BJP “after the nation witnessed withering of governance, failure in protecting the nation and when corruption and scandals had become a routine affairs in the government”.
“In 2014, there was a big question in the minds of people on whether the multi-party system would be successful in protecting the democratic system,” he said. Shah said the people had Modi’s track record – after he took over the reins of Gujarat in 2001 – on how he had made Gujarat the first state with 24-hour power supply, the development in the education sector and agriculture sector among others.
“Everyone started feeling if it could happen in Gujarat, why can’t it happen across the country… so they gave Modiji the chance.”
Pointing out that there is no “selfishness” in Modi’s decisions, Shah said decisions like demonetisation were taken swiftly as the PM wanted to pave the way for epayment system in the country. Decisions like revoking article 370 did not even trigger any law and order issues, he added.
Shah said Modi could introduce schemes like Ujjwala Yojana because he comes from a poor background and had seen his “mother struggling with fire and smoke in the kitchen”.
He added: “He has introduced a human face to the GDP.”
Taking a strong exception to the criticism that Modi’s schemes were copied from the previous governments’, Shah said the Prime Minister has changed the size and scale of the schemes. When the previous governments limited the number of beneficiaries, Modi has extended (the schemes) to all the poor families in the country – be it toilets, houses, LPG connections or drinking water.
Speaking at the event, BJP leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis termed Modi as the “governance guru” in the country. Pointing out that Modi had walked in the path that was guided by BJP ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay, Fadnavis said Modi has brought in the welfare of the poor into the centre of politics and worked hard on the delivery system and network. ” Under him the nation has seen a growth rate that has factored in the poor and their welfare, so it triggered the economic growth by enhancing the demand. In the coming days the governance and delivery system will be on auto pilot,” Fadnavis said.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP, vice-chairman of the Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini, a think tank working closely with the BJP, also spoke on the occasion.