The sports complex of the Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) was buzzing and packed to the brim on Wednesday. The reason: As part of the college’s annual conclave, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had come there to deliver a speech on “Emerging business models in the global scenario”.
In a carefully scripted speech, Modi kept the focus tightly on youth, development and growth, which clicked with the students of the city’s top commerce College. Though clearly smitten by Modi’s oratory, the students, however, weren’t quite sure when asked what they thought of him as a prime ministerial candidate.
“I don’t know much about politics and wouldn’t know if he would make for a strong prime minister but I really liked his speech where the emphasis was on development,” said Priyanka Sharma, a first-year student.
“This is a commerce college and his speech was expectedly more on growth and business than politics,” said Sanjita Gupta, another first-year student. “He is a good orator and might be a good prime ministerial candidate,” said Gaurav Verma, a second-year student.
The complex where the programme was held was full of students, former students and teachers of SRCC. In fact, no one was allowed to enter the college campus after 2.30pm though the speech was scheduled to begin at 4pm.
“There were at least 1,800 people inside and we had instructions from the Gujarat police to not let any more people inside,” said a SRCC students’ union member. As a result, many SRCC students were turned back from the college gate. A large section of the media too wasn’t allowed inside.
Many students were also impressed with Modi’s emphasis on the youth being an agent of change. “His emphasis was on business models in a global scenario and how the youth in the country is our strength. He also talked about how Swami Vivekanada should be a role model for India’s youth,” said Garvit, a first-year student.
For many students, it seemed, the 2002 riots were not an issue any more. “That happened way back in 2002, more than a decade ago. Let’s forget about it now and talk development. The courts have also not found anything that can link Modi with the riots,” said Pratyush Oberoi, a first-year student.