Friday, October 22, 2010

Power of Development Politics. Mr. Modi shows us the way...

In October 7, 2001, when the Indian economy was going through turmoil, Mr. Narendra Modi took charge of Gujarat as the Chief Minister. In February-March 2002, Gujarat faced the worst communal riots, where Mr. Modi was labelled as the primary anti-Muslim responsible for the killing of over 1200 lives by the media.

Turn to October 12, 2010 BJP and Mr. Narendra Modi in Gujarat is stronger than ever. BJP has swept the polls to six municipal corporations in Gujarat retaining power with two-thirds majority in all but one of them. In this age of fragmented polity where getting a majority seems unreal,  BJP bagged 80 percent of the votes (30% Muslim votes) in almost all the places. Interesting to note is that these poll victories came just a few weeks after the BJP won Kathlal constituency in Anand district in a bye-election. This assembly constituency was a strong Congress bastion from the time it came into being.

How did Mr. Modi and the people of Gujarat make all this possible?

One particular remark of Mr. Modi caught my pride and attention. He claimed that only politics of development can do something good, not the politics of vote bank. He said, "I have succeeded to deliver my message that politics of vote bank or politics of appeasement would not do any good, but the politics of development would do"

The truth in this statement is the future of India. The truth in this statement will bring in faith of the Indian population into the political democracy. Development, prosperity and improvement of the standards of living will and can bring in a permanent political stability. And will tag along prosperity with stability.

Today we are being short-sighted. The political attitude is of vote bank politics, 'blanket' politics, immediate selfish goals and corruption ridden personal growth. It is vicious cycle that takes us away from socio-economic development.

Mr. Modi also could have been short-sighted after Godhra. He could have assumed his imminent fall in the next elections and could have concentrated his energies in making as much wealth as possible for a lifetime. Instead he chose the difficult path of development.

He once said, "An opportunity to work is good luck for me. I put my soul into it. Each such opportunity opens the gates for the next one."

Faced with massive economic losses brought in by 2001, he concentrated on reorganizing the government's administrative structure and embarked upon a massive cost-cutting exercise.  As a result of Gujarat government efforts under the guidance of Modi, Gujarat registered a GDP growth rate of over 10% during his first tenure. This was the highest growth rate among all the Indian states.

Gujarat is probably the only state witnessing a double-digit growth for a long time and also the only state growing higher than the country's 8-9 per cent growth. Gujarat is growing faster than some of the Asian economies.

It's all about labour harmony, infrastructure development, transparent policies and prudent State fiscal management, which have contributed to Gujarat's growth. For instance, the man-days lost due to labour unrest in Gujarat is only 0.65 percent as against 5 percent in Maharashtra.

During my stay in Ahmedabad, I remember Sabarmati River as a dry riverbed for years, now it is flowing bank to bank. If the Sabarmati has begun to meander once again, that's because the water is coming from the Narmada canal, courtesy the ambitious river-linking project of Mr. Modi.

Sabarmati in full flow is an apt metaphor for the miracle that Modi has pulled off in making Ahmedabad a model for urban development. Today it boasts of wide roads, minimum traffic congestion, BRTS and ample green spaces along with malls, multiplexes and coffee shops. It is a delight to hear Mr. Modi speak about development. He once said, "Our roads will be as good as the Autobahns of Germany".

This is at a time when most Indian metros are creaking under their own weight. Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi - speak of any metro and you would see chaos.

It would be worthwhile to dig a bit deeper on the unique Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) with a high-speed dedicated corridor for AC CNG buses that will ply a 55-km stretch. The concept of BRTS was first proposed by the Gujarat Govt to the centre, which was later copied by a few other states. Today, Ahmedabad is the first city to have successfully launched the first phase by the intended deadline. It won the prestigious 2010 Sustainable Transport Award this year from the Transportation Research Board in Washington. Ahmedabad BRTS has caught the fancy of several countries including Malaysia, Indonesia and Tanzania.

There are many such success stories. You can read about quite a few them in

It's a proud moment for India that a political leader is showing us the path of long term development to win a democratic election, to be a popular leader. This is learning and teaching to all the national and regional political parties including the BJP, who have not been far-sighted like Mr. Modi in Delhi and the other states.

Lets salute to the power of development.


  1. Amazing blog. Loved it. Ahmedabad is also the first city in India to be a wireless internet connected city. thanks to Spidigo!
    I am loving being in a city which is so developed... Love the wide roads, the spacious malls, and the happy people...

  2. Nicely written. Less politically influenced. Great one. You are very candid, and straightforward. Would love to read a lot more.


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