New Delhi: Ignoring protests outside, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday used a college platform to project himself nationally saying his focus was on development politics and not that of vote-bank, which he said has "ruined" the nation.
    
As protesters opposed to his visit clashed with police outside the Shri Ram College of Commerce here, he sought to commend the Gujarat model of governance to the rest of the country.
    
Modi, who is being projected by some BJP leaders as a Prime Ministerial candidate, contended that there was a sense of despondency all over the country and exuded confidence that the situation can be changed.
    
"There is a sense of despondency in the country. People feel nothing would change here. All are thieves, everything they do is waste. People consider it a curse to be born in India. They want to leave the country soon after completing their studies," Modi said delivering the Shri Ram Memorial Oration.
    
His extempore speech was telecast live by news channels.
    
"But my thought is different. I am Chief Minister for a fourth term and based on my experience, with the same law, same Constitution, same rules and regulations, same officers, same people, same files, we can move forward. We can do a lot. I am confident that we can change things," he said.
    
"This nation is being ruined by vote bank politics. This nation requires development politics. If we switch to politics of development, we will soon be in a position to bring about lasting change and progress," Modi said.
    
Outside the college, students carrying placards like 'Killer Modi', 'Go Back Modi' opposed the invitation by the College to Modi. They tried to break the police cordon and were baton-charged.

In a swipe at Congress, Modi said the growing strength of the country's youth was considered by some politicians as only "new-age voters" and said India's situation will not change like this.
    
"I am concerned that a section of the society, especially people of the political class, in their minds consider India's youth as only new-age voters and I don't think we can change the situation like this. I would like that India should accept them as new-age power and not just new-age voters," he said.
    
Speaking in Hindi on 'Emerging business models in the global scenario', Modi said the nation can progress by following 'Gujarat model' based on P2G2 (Pro-people good governance) principle.
    
The Gujarat Chief Minister said India needs to be branded globally as it was one of the youngest nations in the world, having 65 per cent of its population below the age of 35.
    
He said the youth were the strength of the nation and if utilised properly, India can lead the world in coming times.
    
Citing a question posed to him by an Ambassador, Modi said there are two major challenges before India - how to use the opportunities, and how to utilise national resources.
    
"I said how to use opportunity. 65 per cent of the population is below 35 years of age. Europe has grown old, China is old, but India is young. But unfortunately, we have not been able to utilise such a big demographic opportunity.
    
"Our country is not poor. We have vast resources, see eastern India is full of them. But we are unable to use that. We are unable to utilise the opportunity," Modi said.
    
He said Gujarat has developed its model on three areas - agriculture, industry and services sector - and there should be even development in all the three areas. "If there is problem in one, the other two should support so that growth doesn't stop," he said.

Modi exhorted the youth to take charge, asking them to go ahead and help the nation develop despite all the negative things. He termed the nation's youth as "mouse-charmers", saying the country was no longer considered as a snake-charmer.
    
Picking up a glass of water, he said an optimist would say the glass is half full, while a pessimist would say it is half empty.
    
"I have a third point of view. For me the glass is always full -- half with water and half with air. We can turn over the situation," he said.
    
Expressing optimism that the 21th century belonged to India, going by the strength of knowledge and youth that the country has, he said stress should be on skill development, scaling up projects and completing them up speedily.
    
"The whole world says 21st century is India's century. Some say it is Asia's century, while some also say it is China's century. I am confident that 21st century can be India's century as knowledge is supreme," he said.
    
Citing Gujarat's mantra of success that can be emulated by the country for speedy progress, he said the focus should be on the manufacturing sector by making zero-defect products with good packaging.
    
Modi said Gujarat gave primary attention to agriculture, recording over 10 per cent growth in the sector when the country was not even crossing 2.5 per cent growth.
    
"For 20 years, the country has been setting target of 4 per cent for agriculture but it crumbles at 2.5 per cent," he said, adding that in spite of being a desert state Gujarat's water table was rising while that of the country was going down.
    
Talking about the state's textile policy, he said, "We have focused from farm to fibre, fibre to fabric, fabric to fashion and fashion to forex."
    
Touting the recent 'Vibrant Gujarat Summit' which accepted the global relevance of Gujarat with the presence of 121 nations there, Modi said, "When the world sees this, they infuse confidence that we can do."

(Agencies)

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