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The speech Narendra Modi should have given

Last updated on: August 16, 2013 12:46 IST

Amberish Kathewad Diwanji tweaks Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech.

My dear fellow citizens, sisters and brothers

I want to start today's speech by telling my Muslim brethren that I am sorry for what happened to them during the Godhra riots.

I am sorry that I took so long to say I am sorry. And I promise that such riots will never take place under my watch.

I am sure that many will say I don’t really mean what I say. To them I can only, that is your belief.

Others will say it is a ploy to get votes now that elections are coming near. To them I can only say a heartfelt apology is better than hare-brained schemes that threaten India’s economy just to win votes. Also, it is always better late than never to apologise.

DON'T MISS: The speech PM should have given

Sisters and brothers of Gujarat and India,

Today is our Independence Day, a day of celebration and joy. Sixty six years ago our nation came together to fight the British and give us Independence.

The lesson is clear: whenever India faces a crisis, whenever the people are in trouble, we get together to fight the enemy.

I believe it is time we all came together to lift our country to greater heights.

Our prime minister gave a speech at the Red Fort. The easiest thing for me to do would be to pick on his speech and point out the many flaws. After all, criticising a speech is very easy. I can easily say how the PM didn’t warn Pakistan strongly or was wrong in praising only Congress leaders, forgetting the contributions of Sardar Patel, Shastri and Morarji Desai.

In doing so many in my party will tell me that this shows that I am not just the chief minister of Gujarat, but the shadow PM, the Opposition’s chosen person to become PM when the UPA loses the elections next year.

But I believe that on this great day, when all of us in India celebrate our Independence, one should not criticise others.

For me to criticise the PM or his speech would lower the dignity of this great day. It would make me and the people of this great state look petty. Hence, I will not criticise the PM and his speech.

This does not mean that I am against criticism. But there is a time and place for it. Whether we are criticising the PM of India or the CM of Gujarat, let it be at the appropriate forum.

Let not every occasion, every great moment of celebration be turned into a round of criticising each other, and accusing each other. That is what TV channels do; it isn’t what we should be doing. Some people might be unhappy that I chose to not criticise the PM. They will say that I missed the choice to show myself as an alternative. Whether I am an alternative or not is something you, the people of this great country, will decide.

Not some political party, not some organisation, and certainly not some TVwallahs.

There are today 28 chief ministers making speeches across India. But the national media appears interested in only what I have to say. That itself sends a signal, but what matters is whether the people of this great country want to listen to what I have to say.

Sisters and Brothers,

Every Independence Day is a day to take stock of our achievements and failures. Instead of criticising the PM or the UPA and saying they should do this or they should have done that, I believe is the day when we should take stock of our own shortcomings.

It is the day we should promise to make the Gujarat government better at governance.

Gujarat has performed better than most states. But in Gujarat, there remain large segments who are left out and who feel cut off. Gujarat’s record in helping the Dalits and tribals and Muslims is poor compared to other states.

I pledge today to ensure that the fruits of our growth will reach every person, not just those in the cities.

Sisters and Brothers,

Our country is going through a difficult time. But I have faith in the people of this country, whether they are from Gujarat or Bengal, whether Hindu or Muslim, to work shoulder to shoulder and push our economic growth to 10%.

We all know that 10% growth for 10 years will mean that no Indian is poor. It can be done if we all do it together. I am confident that we can do it.

I have chosen to speak from Bhuj, a region that was devastated by an earthquake 12 years ago. From that painful devastation, this region has grown and prospered.

We Indians are the same everywhere.

What Bhuj did in the last 12 years, we in India can do in the rest of the country over the next 12 years. Make this country strong and prosperous, so that no one can even dream of threatening us. So that Pakistan dare not shoot a bullet across the LoC.

So join me saying Jai Hind, Jai Hind, Jai Hind

Photographs Courtesy: http://www.narendramodi.in/

Amberish Kathewad