Posts Tagged ‘Narendra Modi’


Gujarat is known for its dynamism. It has always reflected growth that has filtered down through ages. The drive to be among the foremost states of India in all spheres of activities is infectious – and is representative of the state’s people as well as those in power. In a recent effort of change, the sphere was the Council of Ministers as the Chief Minister expanded his team. He also reshuffled the portfolios of some of the ministers.


A state is run by a Council of Ministers that includes the Chief Minister himself, a Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministers of State. The work distribution and department allocation is such that the Cabinet Ministers held a higher post while the Ministers of State support them as juniors.

This Council of Ministers of Gujarat inducted six new faces on 2nd February 2011, taking the Ministry’s total strength to 27. The newly welcomed ministers were given the ranks of junior ministers. This makes the Council of Ministers have 17 Cabinet Ministers and 10 Ministers of State. Apart from this induction, the portfolios of three ministers were reshuffled. Political think tanks believe that the CM took this step keeping an eye on the State Assembly elections that are scheduled in December 2012. It is also believed that this is an attempt to give adequate representation to the important social groups in the state.

The ministers were sworn in by Governor Dr. Kamala Beniwal at a simple ceremony on the lawns of Raj Bhavan. The exercise is expected to boost the morale of the ministers, as this is the largest cabinet size ever in Narendra Modi’s three terms as CM. In his second term in 2002, the cabinet size was restricted to just 17 ministers.
Also, this is the second cabinet expansion in six months and follows less than a week after Shri Modi inducted eight party men as chairmen of the state public sector boards and corporations.

Liladhar Vaghela Labor and Employment MLA from Deesa in Banaskantha
Ishwar Patel Sports, Youth, Cultural Affairs and Cooperation Legislator from Ankleshwar
Ranjit Gilatwala Cottage Industries and Planning & Stationery Surat (East)
Jitu Sukhadia Tourism, Food and Civil Supplies, Non Resident Gujaratis Sajyajiganj in Vadodara
Jaydrathsinh Parmar Road and Buildings MLA from Halol
Mohan Kundalia Rural Development MLA from Tankara in Rajkot

An effort to give equal representation is clearly visible as Liladhar Vaghela, Ishwar Patel and Ranjit Gilatwala are from communities belonging to the OBCs while Kundalia is a Patel from Saurashtra and Parmar is a Kshatriya from Central Gujarat.

Also, various regions of Gujarat are carefully included in this process of inclusive growth. Sukhadia and Parmar represent central Gujarat constituencies, Gilitwala and Ishwar Patel belong to South Gujarat, whereas North Gujarat has been represented by Vaghela, and Kundalia comes from the Saurashtra region.


The reshuffling of portfolios also took place. Minister of State Saurabh Patel, who earlier held civil aviation, cottage industries, salt industries, printing and stationery (independent charge), industries, mines, minerals, finance, energy and petrochemicals, now gives up cottage industries, salt industries, printing and stationery.

Minister of State Jashwant Bhabhor, who earlier held tribal development, rural development, labor and employment, has shed rural development, labor and employment. He has been allotted Panchayat and rural housing.

The third Minister of State Parbat Ahir, who had water supply, cooperation, health and family welfare in his portfolio, has given up cooperation.


Shri Narendra Modi is known to give pleasant surprises. The much-expected elevation of his ministerial confidante Anandiben Patel as Deputy Chief Minister did not take place. Also, the rumored change in the portfolios of the Senior Ministers did not happen, though the Ministers of State with multiple departments were divested of their charges. The departments handled by the Chief Minister remain unchanged. He is allocated:

• General Administration
• Planning
• Administrative Reforms & Training Division
• Home
• Industries
• Mines and Minerals
• Energy and Petrochemicals
• Ports
• Information and Broadcasting Media
• Narmada and Kalpsar Projects
• Science and Technology
• All Policies and Subjects & Matters Not Allotted to Other Ministers

The key to Gujarat’s growth is yet not clearly defined – is it this inclusive pattern of growth, is it the dynamism or is it simply Narendra Modi?

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And there’s good news! The Government has given a special place to education in its 12th 5 year plan (2012-2017). It has decided to spend a whooping $100 billion on education. The current estimated expenditure is $70 billion. The declaration was made by Sam Pitroda, the prime minister’s advisor on education and innovation, at the ninth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD). He said, “We will be spending close to $100 billion on education in the 12th plan period. This will be in addition to around $20 billion investment on IT”.

However, the advisor is dissatisfied at the pace at which the developments are taking place. “We have made recommendations. Minister has to act. So far, they have not acted to my satisfaction,” Pitroda said referring to the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission. The Government, on the other hand, seems to be keenly taking measures to open up the education sector for more private and overseas investments.

Pitroda also said that the education system needs to be liberalized just like the economy was in 1991. He urged the Indian diaspora to invest in the educational sector. More than 1,500 members of the Indian diaspora took part in the ninth edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas. This is 20% more than last year.


As a part of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit, International Round Table of Academic Institutions’ opening ceremony was presided over by Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Hasmukh Adhia, Principal Secretary, Education, Gujarat at the Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in Gandhinagar. A total of 76 MoUs were signed by 11 educational institutes and universities based in the state with foreign universities, companies and research institutes.

The MoUs consisted of 6 main combinations: those signed between a company and a state university (36 MoUs were signed in this category); an international university and a state university (24 MoUs); an international university and the state government (9 MoUs); a state university and a state institute (4 MoUs), between a research institute and a state university (2 MoUs), and another category in which ATIRS signed an MoU with a company named Elmarco.

Narendra Modi wooed the audience, he said, “Research is the essence for future development. I assure you that Gujarat has a society that will offer an ambience of risk-taking and entrepreneurship so that the fruits of research are taken to the common man”.


The Prime Minister expressed his concern regarding the widespread of private institutions in the field of education and the problems they may create in the dissemination of knowledge.

PM Manmohan Singh also stressed on scholarships and prizes to tide over social and economic handicaps. He added that had it not been for scholarships, he would not have been able to complete his education.

Talking about the barrier, PM said that, “With the growing share of privately funded for-profit educational institutions, this may be emerging as a worrisome barrier to freer access to knowledge for all our people. The strength of a nation is no longer determined by the might of its armies. Feudal restrictions and pre-democratic institutions are no longer able to impose social barriers to access to knowledge. If there is one barrier, and this too is an ancient one, it is the barrier of economic capacity.”

The concern seems to be genuine as the PM also referred to the brain drain and young people’s decisions to “leave the comfort of well funded institutions abroad to return home to work in India”.

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It is that time of the year again when the skies will be flooded with colors and the never-much-used terraces will be full of people! All eyes set at the competition with the people of the opposite terrace, all ears at the local radio stations playing hip-hop songs and all hands on the KITE STRINGS! Yes, it’s Uttrayan time. It is the time when winter begins to turn to summer. All the routine activities are shut and people take to rooftops and roadways to fly kites. The fest (14-15 January) goes on from early morning until late night and leaves on beautiful scenes that linger on one’s mind forever.

Gujarat is the only state where this festival called Makarsankranti or Uttrayan is celebrated with so much zeal and enthusiasm across all the major cities. Kites of all shapes and sizes are flown, and the main competition is to battle nearby kite-flyers to cut their strings and bring down their kites. The atmosphere is totally festive with everyone from children to adults enjoying on the rooftops. Special food like ladoos, undhiyu and jalebis add to the pleasure. It is also the best time for socializing as group kite-flying is utmost fun and cousins, friends and relatives often gather at the optimum terrace!

Without any distinctions of caste, religion or age, if you are in Gujarat in the month of January, you will find yourself enjoying this beautiful festival with others. Visitors come from around India for the celebration, many Gujaratis who live outside the state choose this time to make their trip home, and international visitors come from countless countries, including Japan, Italy, UK, Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, USA, Malaysia, Singapore, France, China, and many more.


Since 1989, Ahmedabad has been home to the International Kite Festival as a part of the official celebration of Uttrayan. The fest calls for master kite makers and flyers from all over the world to demonstrate their unique creations and wow the crowds with highly unusual kites. All known varieties of kites are found at this festival, from hand-painted artistic kites to high-speed sports kites.
What is more exciting is that the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) has promised a bigger bash for the International Kite Festival 2011! Visitors can look forward to splurge on food, shop from craft bazaars and enjoy watching kites of different size and shape flying along the banks of Sabarmati during this fest.

The celebration is scheduled from January 9 to 12 on the 1.5 km stretch of Sabarmati riverfront project between Gandhi Bridge and Nehru Bridge.

Here are the glimpses of previous years’ festivals, they speak louder than words! But, experience will shout the loudest; do not miss it this year!

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Shri Narendra Modi said, “Earlier, Kankaria used to be in the news mostly for the wrong reasons, as lots of people used to commit suicide there. At the Kankaria Carnival this year, a majority of the participants are from the slum areas of Ahmedabad. I request Amdavadis to encourage the city’s slum kids to achieve great heights in life.” These were the CM’s views while he inaugurated the Kankaria Carnival 2010. He said that a total of 90 lakh people have visited Kankaria lake in the last two years which is double compared to the entire population of Ahmedabad.

The week-long carnival kick-started with great enthusiasm on 25th December, which has been successfully organized by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation for the past 3 years. The inauguration was followed by a gala parade in which various cultural groups, city and state police, bands and horses took part. The crowd puller on the inaugural event was a skit on Gujarat and its culture by cast and crew of popular television serial ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma.’

This year the gala carnival got bigger. It saw performances from at least 40 schools and specialized institutions of Ahmedabad. The carnival also witnessed various regional associations from Punjab, Orissa, Assam, Bihar, Kerala and Maharashtra who performed their regional dances. A series highlighting the diversity of communities that work and live in Ahmedabad was also planned. It was named ‘Bharat Jodo’ and it showcased a series of cultural programs.

One main attraction was floating on Kankaria in a water-bubble. The huge polyurethane balloons are filled with oxygen and then the rider is sealed inside it. The water bubble then floats on the lake with people inside. If this becomes a success, it will be a permanent feature at Kankaria, which already has Ahmedabad Eye and Atal Express as the attractions for visitors. Apart from these, programs were planned for people of all age groups and strata, right from the slum children to senior citizens. The AMC had also organized sports like parasailing, bubble ride etc for visitors’ recreation at Kankaria, apart from boating in the lake. The participants at the carnival had prepared 630 types of different rangolis around the lake which was a treat to the eyes!

A spectacular show of fireworks, various stage events, lighting, and other activities like laser shows were some of the attractions. Shri Narendra Modi, in his inaugural speech also requested the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation to name Jamalpur over bridge after Shri Ashok Bhatt who “served this city for six decades” and his request was immediately accepted. The Minister also opened Santaram water plant through remote control during the ceremony and announced the grand opening of ‘Kids City’ during the carnival.
The carnival was a celebration and an extravaganza that lasted till 31st December.

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“After ten years of hard work, this time the four main constituencies of the state – the minorities, women, tribals and poor, have voted for us in this election,” Narendra Modi was quoted as saying after the landslide victory in the Gujarat Elections 2010. Addressing jubilant BJP supporters who had gathered outside the State party headquarters, Modi said it was a victory of developmental politics and heralds the end of ‘vote bank’ politics pursued by the Congress.

The Modi Government was busy celebrating its urban sweep, when other reasons for celebrations came up. BJP won at all the 6 major municipal corporations viz. Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Surat, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar. Victory seemed to be in the air as the party also clean swept in the local body elections. The series of BJP’s victories this year began with the party wresting the hitherto Congress stronghold of Kathlal Assembly seat in a by-election.

Overwhelmed with this victory, LK Advani posted his feelings on his blog: “I do not recall the election result of civic bodies in any state causing such a political upheaval as has occurred in Gujarat. The BJP had made a clean sweep in the first round elections to the six Municipal Corporations and won all the six Corporations handsomely. In the second round too, which covered partly urban, but predominantly a rural population, BJP had the upper hand. The BJP had hoped to win these elections. But I must admit that the results have surpassed all our expectations. This time’s outcome is not just a defeat; it is a decimation of the Congress in Gujarat. New Delhi would do well to understand that such results do not indicate just a preference for some party, they are pointers also to the electorate’s passionate rage against some party.”

Amidst tight securities, the vote counting took place for 24 districts, 208 talukas and 53 municipalities of Gujarat. And the results came as an icing on the cake for Narendra Modi, as he had personally led the promotion campaigns of BJP. In the final tally, out of the 24 district panchayats the BJP won clear majority in 21 with Congress got majority in Gandhinagar and Tapi. The district panchayats of Bharuch got a hung verdict.

Out of the 208 taluka panchayats, results of 157 were declared, in which BJP has own 122, Congress 20 and Janta Dal(U) 2, while in the 3 taluka panchayats the verdict was hung.

In the 53 municipalities’ elections, the BJP has won 42 seats while the Congress and others had to be satisfied with four seats respectively. In Porbandar and Botad, both the BJP and Congress won 21 seats each out of the total 42 seats.

As the Congress slipped to perhaps its worst ever showing, state party president Siddhartha Patel sent his resignation to party Chief Sonia Gandhi, accepting moral responsibility for the dismal results. The Gujarat Congress Legislature Party leader Shaktisinh Gohil also sent in his resignation to Gandhi, accepting joint responsibility for the party’s poor performance.

The polls had high stakes for the main parties of the state. The result has come as a major boost to Modi and his party, which is looking at this elections keeping in mind the December 2012 polls. The main twist in the voting pattern was that a large group of tribals and minorities voted for BJP, unlike expectations. BJP won in places such as tribal district Dangs and Anand in central Gujarat, which were Congress strongholds. The party also won in other tribal dominated districts such as Narmada, Dahod, Panchamahal and Sabarkantha.

“This is the first election in which 100 Muslim candidates of the BJP have emerged victorious. This makes it clear that in the country, Muslims and Christians have realized that vote-bank politics have so far not benefited them,” Modi said in his victory speech. He said the image that BJP is pro-rich and an urban party would be dispelled with today’s victory.

This indigestible victory was blamed by Congress as they alleged that the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) used in Gujarat Elections were tampered with. Adding fuel to the controversy, even the Election Commission stated that the EVMs were not provided by them, but procured by the State itself. ”After being totally wiped out in the civic body elections as well as panchayat polls in Gujarat, the Congress is now trying to put the blame on EVM. Instead of blaming the EVMs the Congress should really find out why the people did not vote for them,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said, justifying the stand of BJP.

Those in the know of politics are wondering at the enormity of the Congress’s loss, considering that these results are worse than even those at the polls that followed the 2002 Hindutva wave. The Saffron Party has emerged a clear winner and most of the ‘Political Pundits’ remain astonished with the drastic change in the voting pattern and preferences of the people. This indeed, can be called a turning point in India’s political history.

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Gujarat and its freedom can be called almost synonymous to Shri Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. As Indians, his life, work and principles are all a part of us. Gujarat has witnessed Gandhi as a role model over the years and his presence can be felt everywhere even today. A traveler, who came from Europe was asked: ‘What do you wish to see in India?’ His reply was: ‘The Himalayas, The Taj Mahal and Mahatma Gandhi.’ He is known and adored for his qualities of truth, non-violence and love. He never practiced evil nor did he consider the wrong doer as wicked. All these qualities made him gain the name ‘Mahatma’ in Gujarat. Gandhi was a father to many thoughts, struggles, Satyagrah, and above all ‘The Father of the Nation.’ All he wished for was ‘Ramraj’ – the kingdom of God on Earth. Love would be the sole law there. All would be dutiful. There would be no distinction of caste, religion and community. No one would be treated as untouchables. The intellectual worker and the manual worker would be equal; neither could claim superiority. There would be no intoxicating drinks. Women would be honored. Every one would be ready to give up his life for the good of his country. Gandhiji called such a state of society ‘Sarvodaya (The Prosperity of All). Mahatma Gandhiji, called ‘Bapu’ by his loving countrymen, will ever be remembered as a saint & a great leader of men..

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