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I prefer Shastri to Nehru: Modi

india Updated: Jun 06, 2010 01:10 IST
Rajendra Aklekar
Rajendra Aklekar
Hindustan Times
I prefer Shastri to Nehru: Modi

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday criticised India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru saying his fondness for children or celebrating his birthday — November 14 — as Children’s Day has not achieved anything.

“What has Children’s Day done for kids who are poor and are starving?” Modi asked while delivering the keynote address at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) two-day conclave at Uttan on Saturday.

“Let me contrast this with Lal Bahadur Shastri. Shastri, unlike Nehru, was not a charismatic leader and rarely does anyone remember him. But he coined the slogan Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, which electrified our army jawans and farmers equally,” Modi said.

The party, at the conclave on good governance, has projected Modi as an ideal chief minister. BJP president Nitin Gadkari tried to get the fractured party together and made an appeal for team spirit and “development-oriented politics” saying that the BJP represented a different political culture in India.

The conclave, Suraj Sankalp, is being seen as Gadkari’s attempt to make good governance BJP's unique selling proposition. He has used Gujarat, which has done well under Modi, as an example of this. Modi, in his address, said transparency was important for good governance.

“Good governance goes beyond files. Real problems are not in government files and they should be sought in life and not in ivory towers or air-conditioned meeting rooms,” he said.

The party has been plagued with infighting between top leaders of the party since the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.

The conference will focus on reviewing noteworthy and innovative welfare or development initiatives. Representatives from six BJP-ruled states, including chief ministers and 65 junior ministers, are attending the conclave at the party’s political training institute at Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini at Uttan near Bhayander.

“We have to shun the Congress culture of greetings and salutations and think about the nation first, then the party and then about oneself,” Gadkari said.

This was Gadkari’s first conclave as party president since he was appointed in 2009.