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Modi turns to farmers for electoral harvest

Three-day Vibrant Gujarat Agricultural Summit 2013 to help build the CM's 'progressive,but pro-farmer' image

Written by Hiral Dave | Gandhinagar | Published: July 31, 2013 3:01 am

After wooing corporates,the Narendra Modi government is now claiming to make a bid to accelerate “sluggish” national agricultural growth. By inviting farmers from all the states,the government has been projecting Vibrant Gujarat Agricultural Summit (VGAS) 2013 as a platform to sustain growth momentum in the state and “facilitate realisation of latent potential of agriculture in India”.

The coming together of farmers from villages across India for the three-day summit (September 9-11) will also indirectly give Chief Minister Narendra Modi a chance to push his agenda of collecting iron pieces from them to build the 182-metre high statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,touted to be the world’s tallest statue. The summit will also help Modi kickstart his election campaign as iron collection is believed to be one of the biggest drives by the BJP in rural areas in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

After his elevation as BJP’s election committee chairman,the summit will also give an opportunity to Modi,who is often being criticised for his proximity with corporates,to add a new dimension to his image. The image projected here will be progressive but pro-farmer. “We are expecting participation by farmers from all the states,along with domestic and international agricultural companies,experts and researchers.

The farmer groups and agencies will confirm participation in coming months,” said a top agriculture department official.

It was in June that Modi announced the plan to collect iron pieces at the National Conference on Dairy and Livestock. Since then,the VGAS 2013 will be the second event wherein farmers in large number are expected to come together in Gujarat.

As the iron collection drive starts from October,Modi will take this opportunity to connect with farmers for the same a month before begins on the ground.

Based on Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit,the three-day edition of VGAS is also managed by professional agencies. Agritech Asia,an international firm,along with Gujarat Chambers of Commerce and an event management firm are contacting farmer groups in various Indian states and corporates,NGOs and companies from across the world to be a part of the summit.

A major event for the farmers at the summit will be Kisan Panchayat. It will see an interacting session,field visits and even recognition of progressive farmers. Other events include technical sessions by experts,business-to-business meetings and an international level three-day exhibition on technology and innovations.

The invites that are being sent to various groups and agencies hail Gujarat for maintaining double digit agricultural growth and describe India as a destination with latent potential to grow in agriculture. The invite says that VGAS will help Gujarat sustain its growth and help India realise its “latent potential”. This assumes significance given that Modi has often criticised the single-digit national agricultural growth rate.

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