I want to empower the youth, declares Gujarat CM

Tearing into the youth refrain of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi on Saturday asserted that the United Progressive Alliance government was “neglecting the youth.” Though he did not mention Mr. Gandhi’s name, the Gujarat Chief Minister was obviously referring to the former’s recent statement that he wanted the next government to be headed and run by youngsters.

“Some people are trying to gain power by using the youth angle, but I want to empower the youth.” This was Mr. Modi’s repartee, while delivering a speech at a convocation function of the Gujarat-government promoted Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University here.

“It is very sad to see to whom we have handed over our future. If things continue like this, one day the youth will not get place even on the footpaths of cities,” he said.

The Chief Minister reiterated that during its rule for six years, the National Democratic Alliance government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee created six crore jobs, but the UPA government under Manmohan Singh, though it was in its ninth year, had created only 1.47 crore jobs.

Mr. Modi said the Union government had ignored skill development of the youth, but in contrast his government’s budget had Rs. 800 crore only for providing skills to youngsters as against the UPA’s budget of Rs. 1,000 crore for the entire country.

Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries Mukesh Ambani, who also heads the PDPU board, and British Petroleum group chief executive Bob Dudley were present at the convocation ceremony.

Addressing the students, Mr. Ambani described Mr. Modi as an “inspiration for the youth of the country.”