Gujarat has become a model State in the world, says Rajnath

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi did not speak on the opening day of the BJP National Council meet here on Saturday but everyone who took the mike mentioned about him. And on each occasion, delegates and party workers at the packed Talkatora Stadium responded with applause.

Though the two-day conclave is being held primarily to formalise Rajnath Singh’s election as party president and take stock of the political situation ahead of a series of Assembly elections in which the BJP has high stakes, it was Mr. Modi who was the cynosure of all eyes.

The stadium reverberated with slogans: Desh ka neta kaisa ho, Modi jaise ho (nation’s leader should be like Modi) and Modiji sangarsh karo, hum aap ke saath hai (Modi march ahead, we are with you). ‘Modi-for-PM’ was on the lips of a few, unmindful of the recent diktat by Mr. Singh to the rank and file not to speculate on the prime ministerial candidate.

The newly appointed Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel, who was the master of ceremonies at the inaugural session, brought Mr. Modi into the National Council discourse. “Though the prime ministerial candidate will be chosen later, it appears as if he [Mr. Modi] is the PM,” Mr. Goel said, and it was lapped up by the delegates.

“Most popular leader”

As if sensing the mood, the BJP president, in his inaugural address, played to the gallery, lauding Mr. Modi as the ‘most popular leader and Chief Minister’. He asked the delegates to give Mr. Modi a standing ovation for the Gujarat leader’s ‘historic’ third successive victory as a BJP Chief Minister.

“Gujarat has become a model State in the world due to the immense industrial boom it has seen under the guidance of Mr. Narendra Modi,” Mr. Singh said.

Other than the praise of Mr. Modi, in the course of his 90-minute speech, the BJP president spoke of the ‘failure’ of the UPA government on all fronts, and asserted that the BJP would capture power in the 2014 general election.

The first day was devoted to a discussion on the economic resolution and organisational matters. In the later session, the election of Mr. Singh as party president was ratified and he was authorised to constitute the Parliamentary Board, the most influential forum in the party, and the Election Committee. Indications are that Mr. Modi would be inducted into the Board.

The Chief Minister is slated to speak on Sunday at the session on ‘good governance.’ Ever since his victory in the recent Assembly election, Mr. Modi has been harping on how replicating the Gujarat model would do wonders for India.