Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the country needed a strong leader and a stable government to put back economy on rails and ensure development.

Speaking at an interactive meet with people from different walks of life on ‘Vision for Better India’, he said the country was crying for development and there was a need for a strong government headed by a decisive and dynamic leader. “There should be less government and more governance. There should be people’s participation at every level”, he added.

Hitting out at the UPA government, he said the economic growth rate came down to 4.8 per cent from 8.4 per cent during NDA regime. The fiscal deficit increased from 3.8 per cent to 5.8 per cent now and inflation was 9.3 per cent now as against 3.7 per cent then.

Referring to debate on Gujarat model of development, he said wrong propaganda was being made that government in that State had forcibly taken lands from farmers. It had not taken lands from anybody and in fact the Supreme Court had lauded the land acquisition policy in Gujarat.

He said BJP was committed to integrated development of Telangana and successor Andhra Pradesh State and the party, if returned to power at the Centre, would pay special attention for speedy growth of both the States.

Suggestions ranging from increasing the spending on education and healthcare to giving a fillip to urbanisation and optimally exploiting the gas potential in Krishna-Godavari basin were received from different speakers, who included Indian School of Business Dean, Ajit Rangnekar, Prof. V.S. Rao Director of BITS Pilani, Hyderabad, D.V. Manohar, former chairman, AP chapter of CII, B.V. Mohan Reddy, CMD of Infotech, J.A. Chowdhary, executive director, TalentSprint and Karuna Gopal, president of Foundation for Futuristic Cities.