M J Akbar, journalist-turned-BJP spokesperson, fielded questions Sunday in the city where he had established himself as an editor before plunging into politics.
At the Kolkata Press Club, Akbar praised the Gujarat model of ‘development’ and said the UPA government could be summed up with three points — a great decline in employment, rising prices and rise in poverty.
Asked about communalism that Narendra Modi is so frequently associated with, he referred to Modi’s speech following an attack on his rally in Patna.
“When an untoward incident happens, a person forgets everything he had prepared and speaks by instinct. When Modi’s rally was attacked he had said, ‘Hindus will have to decide whether they want to fight poverty or Muslims and Muslims will have to decide whether they want to fight poverty or Hindus’. Do I have to say anything more?” Akbar said.
“The UPA had sent the economy to the hospital and we have to help it recover it from the deathbed. That will be the primary objective of the NDA government,” Akbar said.
He cited statistics to prove how growth had slowed down during the UPA regime and prices risen.
“The Congress had kicked the economy in the stomach,” he said.
Referring to the recovering stock markets, he said, “The green shoots which you see is not because of any policy of the UPA government. It is because people have understood beyond doubt that the UPA government is set to make an exit and a new government will be formed in May.”
Akbar described how Gujarat had flourished under Modi’s leadership and why it should be a model to be duplicated nation-wide.
“India can add 40 million jobs if they follow the Gujarat model,” he said and added that just as the people of Bengal had voted for “poribartan”, another change awaits India. “The Modi-led UPA government will bring about the change,” he said. He mocked P Chidambaram: “He is the first finance minister in the history who has brought a no confidence motion against himself by staying away from the elections. He is not confident enough to fight in his own constituency.”