BJP President Amit Shah on Sunday stated that Narendra Modi was better placed to serve Gujarat as Prime Minister than as Chief Minister and appealed the people not to miss him, while citing statistics to indicate the state had developed during all consecutive BJP governments since 1995.
"There is no need to miss Narendra Modi in Gujarat. He placed Gujarat on the growth map as the Chief Minister, as the Prime Minister he is doing much for the development of the state. Who is more powerful, the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister?" said Shah as he answered questions during a town-hall interaction with youth through multiple digital platforms and video-conferencing across 312 locations.
The event was called Adikham Gujarat (Resolute Gujarat) where the BJP chief claimed to have addressed one lakh youth by taking questions through the social media.
Quipping that "today I am not a politician, but a professor", Shah claimed 4.7 lakh questions had come and this spoke of the expectations and hopes from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Amid applause at the jam-packed Deendayal Hall, a questioner asked: "Politically we feel the absence of Narendra Modi and the scenario does not look the same after he has gone three years ago. What does the party intend to do?"
A grinning Shah said: "As the Prime Minister, he is helping in Gujarat's development by taking decisions at the snap of a finger. Within 10 days of assuming power in Delhi, the permission to increase the height of the Narmada dam came. And now he has ensured the radial gates are put at the dam.
"He travels across India with the interests of Gujarat in his mind and heart. Modi is very much here."
Shah claimed there was a sea of difference in Gujarat before 1995, when the first BJP government came to power, and now, when the state's development numbers had zoomed up. "Don't ask questions, look at the statistics. It's all there for everyone to see. All the statistics will be put up on the BJP's website for the youth to check."
Asked about the pathetic conditions of the state's roads, he admitted it was so after the rains but credited the BJP governments for creating the largest road infrastructure in Gujarat. "Many people are today taking a dig at us for the quality of roads but it was during our rule that a wide network of roads was created. We cannot resurface the roads during monsoons and the work on improving roads will happen betweenASeptember 15 and October 2," he said.
The BJP chief also fielded questions on the contentious issues of GST, flogging of Dalit youngsters in Una and the Hardik Patel agitation for reservations to Patidars.
"GST, the concept of one nation one tax, is a progressive taxation regime. The Congress attempted to bring it in, but we succeeded. I admit there are problems in its implementation but the government is aware of this and making efforts to stabilize to new system in the next five to six months," Shah said.
He admitted the Una incident was shocking but said this was not the order of the day in Gujarat. "Look at the statistics, the cases of atrocities against Dalits are the lowest in Gujarat. Una was a condemnable and our government has initiated strict legal action against the perpetrators," he said.
On the Patel quota issue, he referred to the earlier position of the state government about the constitutional and legal challenges of a 50 per cent cap on reservation. "At best, the list of communities included in OBC category can be expanded but a legal process must be followed," he said, but added that, "All such agitations are generally political motivated ones and end up in a whimper."
The youngsters in the state were asked to send questions through Twitter, Facebook or by giving a missed call on 7878182182 and register themselves to send questions. Alternatively, they could ask questions on www.adikhamgujarat.com.