BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Friday hit out at the scams that hit the UPA II government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as well as its economic policies and accused it of taking India’s image back to the times when the country was considered a land of snake charmers.
"For ages, foreigners considered India a land of snake charmers but India’s prowess in IT changed that image. Unfortunately, over the last decade, the 2G scam has hit our country’s reputation. I fear that as a result, we may once again be known the way we were," he said at an IT industry award function in Delhi, comparing it to the record of the NDA government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his own record in Gujarat.
Addressing about 400 IT industry CEOs, Modi said the UPA government had neglected the ICT and hardware sectors that had been carefully developed by the Vajpayee government.
"Some see the 2G scam as loss of money. I see it as something that badly damaged reputation of our youth in a sector, which gave India’s global reputation a massive boost," said Modi.
He also attacked finance minister P Chidambaram for banning gold imports and other restrictions to manage the current account deficit, without exploring the potential the hardware industry in India offered.
The UPA government also did not promote development of human resource in the sector, he said, adding: "We should have helped women to set up small scale industry in hardware but we did not."
Earlier, in a closed door meeting with select corporate executives representing the ICT sector, he presented a glimpse of his party’s track record in promoting information technology and telecommunication, and assured them of more positive steps to encourage the sector.
Shiv Nadar of HCL, Kiran Karnik former Nasscom chief, Rajan Anandan of Google, Shankar Annaswamy of IBM, CP Gurnani of Tech Mahindra, P Balaji of Nokia, Akhil Gupta of Airtel, Neelam Dhawan of HP and Gurdeep Singh of Reliance Communication were among the CEOs who were present.