Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi was not his hectoring self when he spoke at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas at a session of chief ministers on Thursday. He stuck a mellow, humorous note when he said, “I liked what the prime minister said. He said there is no need for despair and that good times are ahead.” The audience caught on to the political subtext and there was a loud cheer all round.
While he talked about the mega project of the Statue of Unity of Sardar Patel, he was keen that 2015 which would mark the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa should be celebrated in a big way, and so should be 2019 — the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi — and 2022, the 75th Independence anniversary of India.
He also observed that unlike in the old times when the states were fighting with the Centre for aid and looked to the Centre for everything, in the last 10 to 15 years, states have been wooing global investors on their own, and that the states were now competing with each other as to who has a better developmental model and which one of them is a better investment destination.
Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh said his state was emerging as the hub for health care and education. Modi said he was focusing on education and that a university has been set up to train teachers, and that tourism was the other big emerging sector in Gujarat.
The most interesting observation came from Kerala chief minister Oomen Chandy that his state was now pursuing a policy by which youth and students do not remain job-seekers but that turn job-givers.