Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday accused the UPA government of failure to sustain the policy prominence to the IT sector as a result of which the growth of the sector had fallen sharply affecting not only exports but also employment opportunities.

Addressing a rally of party workers at the Palace Grounds here which he addressed amid tight security on his first visit to the State after being declared the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Mr. Modi tried to connect with the country’s IT capital by touching upon the issues related to IT, youth and unemployment in addition to politics.

Crediting the then Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee for triggering the IT revolution in the country by bringing about the IT Act and treating IT as a focussed area, Mr. Modi said that the IT sector growth rate had fallen from 40 per cent during the NDA regime to 30 per cent during the UPA I regime and to 9 per cent now.

Such a thing would not have happened if the UPA had given an incentive package to the IT sector, especially in Karnataka. Instead, it showered incentives on “pink revolution” under which efforts were made to export meat, he ridiculed. It was possible to reduce the current account deficit if software exports had increased, he said.

The Gujarat Chief Minister also accused the UPA of lacking a vision for the welfare of youth, who accounted for nearly 65 per cent of the population, and using them only as vote bank which had resulted in unemployment. “The UPA is facing the sin of stealing jobs from crores of youth,” he remarked and said that the BJP considered youth as “power” and had planned to empower them to strengthen the country.

“When all the countries are trying to focus on skill development of youth to use the youth power for nation building, the UPA is yet to do anything regarding skill development,” he said.

While his party colleagues in the State unit criticised the Siddaramaiah government for taking up schemes such as Shaadi Bhagya and tour programmes which, they alleged, were discriminatory in nature, Mr. Modi picked only the decision of the State government to change the anti-cow slaughter Bill for criticism.

He hailed Bangalore for excelling as a knowledge city by housing institutes of research, higher education and centres of excellence. He also pointed out that Bangalore was the first city in the country to get electricity supply. He congratulated C.N.R. Rao, who hails from Bangalore, and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for being chosen for the Bharat Ratna.

Party national president Rajnath Singh, State unit president Pralhad Joshi, the former BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu, national general secretary Ananth Kumar, the former Chief Ministers D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar, the former Deputy Chief Ministers K.S. Eshwarappa and R. Ashok were present.

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