Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani Tuesday rolled out a poll-ready, technology-friendly avatar of his party and said if elected to power it will evolve a quintessential Indian model of development that will reduce the widening rich-poor gulf.
In a conscious attempt to reinvent the BJP as the natural choice for governance and pro-people development and distancing it from Hindutva dogmas, Advani lauded the IT revolution in the country that has unleashed the potential of technology in transforming lives of millions of people.
“Technology is a wonderful instrument for social change. IT has revolutionized life,” Advani, the party's prime ministerial candidate for the next general elections, told businessmen, diplomats and media at a function organized by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).
“Let IT reach every village. The right use of technologies can transform lives of millions,” he said in his bi-lingual speech that was peppered with digs at the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, cricket nostalgia, mythical allusions and learned quotations from books that had influenced his evolution as a politician.
“The rich-poor gulf is widening. The new technologies can, however, help to overcome this bridge,” he said.
Underlining the need for a uniquely Indian model for development that is neither that of the Soviet-style control economy nor that of free market economics of the West but that suits India's needs, Advani sought inputs from businesses and industries to forge a blueprint that can blend equity with growth.
“If we get elected to power, we can implement this model. We need guidance from you,” he told assembled businessmen here.
Bringing IT to every Indian village and to every sector of the economy will be an important part of the Indian model, he said, underlining the BJP's pet themes for next elections: good governance and people-friendly development.
A canny politician, Advani, however, did not miss a chance to deflate the hype about 8-9 percent economic growth that the government has been trumpeting about and put inclusive growth with the common man at its centre at the heart of the BJP's strategy in the next general elections.
“There must be equitable growth. There can't be three 'dhan-kubers' (billionaires) whose income is equal to 30 million 'Sudamas' (poor friend of Lord Krishna in Hindu mythology),” Advani said to ringing applause from the audience.
“For growth to be meaningful, it must change the lives of the vast majority of our ordinary people, both in rural and urban areas. For growth to be meaningful, it must be equitable, both geographically and socially,” he stressed.
“What we need is a national effort in which the efforts of a billion people contribute fully to the growth and development of the country,” he said.