The well-propagated success story of Gujarat appealed to young college students here who heard Chief Minister Narendra Modi with rapt attention and applauded his oratorical skills today while choosing to overlook controversies surrounding him.
Oblivious of the hundreds of Left leaning students and pro-Modi ABVP activists shouting slogans to register their views on the street outside Sri Ram College of Commerce, the students of the institution were visibly awed by Modi and his often repeated economic achievements in Gujarat.
Modi's anecdotes and catchy one-liners seemed to impress the young minds who clapped often during his speech and gave him a standing ovation when he ended his address.
The controversial chief minister, who is seen as a presumptive Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP, knew what would sell among such a audience. He knowingly kept away from politics and harped on development and progress.
Examples and comparisons to countries like Japan, the US and China and how Indians need to improve their "scale, skill and speed" to match their developed counterparts formed part of Modi's speech.
Modi lauded Japanese enterprise when he said the people there started preparations for hosting Olympics in their country eight years before the sporting event.
Drawing comparisons, the Gujarat chief minister said he had organised the Vibrant Gujarat Summit "in which 121 countries participated" in January just ten days after his Assembly election campaign and assumption of office.
He worked his charm on the students, saying India is no longer a country of "snake-charmers but of mouse-charmers", a reference to the achievements of young Indians in the field of computers and information technology.
Asked about her opinion of Modi, Mayank Agarwal, a student of SRCC, said, "Everybody knows what he has done for Gujarat. His vision can transform India."