Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday blamed the UPA government’s policies for faltering economic growth as he attacked the Centre’s “misplaced socialist” priorities for holding back projects and creating an atmosphere of ”gloom”.
“Value addition becomes important for natural resources as well, even water. What is happening to bauxite resources? Nothing.” the BJP's prime ministerial told business leaders at a meeting of industry body Ficci. “Socialist slogans are good but is that helping anyone? Value addition drives the economy. We need to focus on that.”
BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi is seen with party chief Rajnath Singh and Goa CM Manohar Parrikar at BJP's 'Vijay Sankalp' rally in Panaji.(PTI photo)
Modi’s comments were an oblique reference to the government’s recent decision to reject UK mining company Vedanta Resources proposal to develop a bauxite mine in a hill in Odisha held sacred by tribals.
Twelve villages in the Niyamgiri hills had unanimously rejected the controversial proposal in August 2013. Vedanta wanted to mine bauxite to feed its Rs. 5,000-crore alumina refinery in Odisha.
Modi’s comments on Wednesday could again spark off the environment-versus-development debate. The remarks came within days of the Gujarat strongman making a veiled reference to the removal of Jayanthi Natarajan from the environment ministry, saying he had heard of a "Jayanthi tax” that delayed key projects.
Read: Income, sales, excise and then a Jayanthi tax, says Modi
Read: BJP drops idea of income tax abolition, roots for rationalising system
"We need to come out of the current gloom and bridge the trust deficit in India," he said. "If we had planned well, we would have reached great heights. Today, India has become a country of underachievers.”
Accusing the UPA government of not owning up to failures or mismanagement, Modi said, "When we talk about growth, infrastructure comes in and that is dependent on the energy sector. Industries are shut because of shortage of fuel. Someone has to take responsibility. The reason for disappointment is that nobody accepts responsibility in this country."
A photo of BJP's PM candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi during the international kite festival in Ahmedabad. (Reuters photo)
Taking a dig at Manmohan Singh, Modi said "Our Prime Minister likes to speak about inclusive growth. Until we build capacity among poor through education, how can it happen?”
Modi, who urged industry to invest in India to create employment avenues, identified agriculture and service sectors as big job-spinners for the country.
Read: Dalit agenda priority for Cong’s 2014 manifesto
Read: Last 10 years under Cong worst the country has seen, says Modi