Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi appeared a different leader at the National Development Council meeting with positive criticism of the 12th plan and accusing the Central government of policy logjam.
“Significantly lowering the growth target in the 12 plan will further add to the mood of despondency and pessimism in the country and cast increasing doubts on the sustainability of the Indian growth story," he said, in reaction to planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s suggestion to lower the growth target for the plan to 8%.
A senior Congress minister described Modi speech as constructive and saw his aspiration to become Prime minister.
"Unlike past NDC meetings, Modi was not sarcastic and was soft and decent," the minister said.
Another Congress minister said that Modi’s criticism should be seen in positive light and the government has taken his suggestions in a positive note. Some other chief ministers in hushed voices praised Modi.
But, his body language indicated that he wanted to project himself as a leader above petty party politics and was serious about development of the country.
He did not use harsh words in his speech and later avoided staunch attack on the Central government while speaking to reporters but described the 12th plan document as an example of “intellectual bankruptcy” in the Central government.
Many chief ministers including Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav congratulated him for his third term as Gujarat CM.
Knowing well that he would be in the limelight and questions related to be being NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate would be asked, Modi remained indifferent to such suggestions. “I will call you if I have to say anything on this,” he said.
There was difference of opinion among chief ministers whether Modi should be Prime Ministerial candidate.
Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, rejected Modi as PM candidate whereas Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and NDA ally, remained evasive on the issue. Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chauhan said it was an internal issue of BJP.
Modi blamed the Central government for high inflation and claimed that the government decision to cap subsidized LPG cylinders to six a year would add to miseries of middle class and the poor.
He also urged the Central government to treat the state governments as partners in development and to learn from their success stories prompting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ask Planning Commission to review innovative steps of the states to give fillip to solar energy sector.