Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday virtually sought an endorsement on PM Narendra Modi’s leadership ahead of the 2024 polls by making a strong appeal to “young minds” to assess the BJP government’s performance for bringing a “mindset change” that would transformation India into a developed nation.

In her valedictory remarks at the national conclave organised here to celebrate 9th anniversary of the Modi government, Nirmala Sitharaman offered different narratives on the persona of PM Narendra Modi who, she said, has earned trust and faith of people through his “intent”, “seva bhav” (dedication) and “visionary” leadership which understood poor and delivered on their aspirations.

According to her, such leadership is rare but required for nation building as it was evident during the freedom movement.

“The mindset change comes when people trust the government and government also trusts people,” she spoke at the one-day long conclave, themed on “Seva, Sushashan, and Garib Kalyan” (Service, Good Governance, and Welfare of Poor).

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Stable govt needed

She appealed more than once to the gathering largely populated by youth that “leadership matters” and that India needs a stable government to become developed so that future generations don’t suffer the way their predecessors did. “..Earnest attempt to build India can only happen when you have trust in your leadership,” Sitharaman exhorted.

The Minister also took a veiled jibe at the Congress-ruled UPA for faltering economy and giving a corruption-ridden government. “...Ten years ago we were all struggling, saying how are we going to live with a government which is giving us news of corruption every morning...Almost every Indian thought there is no redemption for India...Now, contrast that picture with what we have in the last nine years,” she commented.

To give a glimpse of achievement of the Centre, the Finance Minister counted numerous policy initiatives and measures like not imposing any Covid-cess on people stressed out during the pandemic, offering corruption-free regime, rolling out one nation, one tax (GST) which Congress failed for a decade, and empowerment of women by opening up vacancies for them in other-wise male dominated armed forces.

“Modi will do no wrong,” is a statement that reflects the change on prioritising country’s interest first, she insisted. “India is now a country that believes in itself. Earlier also it might be happening but there was no recognition,” the minister said. She also spoke of global appreciation of the country’s growth under Modi.