India

Indian media analyse Narendra Modi's speech

Narendra Modi has been tasked to lead the BJP in the general elections due in 2014
Image caption Narendra Modi has been tasked to lead the BJP in the general elections due in 2014

Media in India are analysing controversial politician Narendra Modi's first public speech after he was named the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) candidate for prime minister.

Addressing a gathering of supporters in Rewari in the northern state of Haryana on Sunday, Mr Modi spoke mainly on foreign policy, calling for a strong Indian leadership, praising the armed forces for demonstrating "true secularism" and advising Pakistan to concentrate on fighting poverty.

The BJP on Friday declared Mr Modi its prime ministerial candidate for the general elections due in 2014.

Some papers say Mr Modi needs to lay out a positive blueprint for development rather than just criticise the Congress party-led federal government.

The Times of India says Mr Modi has plenty of "negative material" to attack the government, but "he must spearhead a BJP plan for reviving the economy".

His record as the chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, whose economic success he is credited with, "lends him great credibility on this front", the paper adds.

But the Hindustan Times believes "it is no use saying that the Gujarat model can be replicated elsewhere. It cannot be replicated in such a vast and diverse country like India… Mr Modi will now have to spell out what he can bring to the table for the country's poor and disadvantaged".

Hindi paper Amar Ujala feels he "has yet to prove how capable he is in national politics - it will not help anymore to cite Gujarat's success or to criticise the government".

Controversial past

Newspapers are also discussing whether Mr Modi's controversial past can affect the BJP's chances of wining the elections.

He is accused of doing little to stop anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002 which left more than 1,000 dead. Mr Modi has always denied the allegations.

He "may prove a greater liability than his development record can transcend", The Times of India says, but adds that "balanced against this peril is the possibility that he would energise and expand the BJP's base".

The Tribune terms the appointment a "gamble", saying the BJP calculates that Mr Modi "would attract a greater number of voters than he would scare away".

But Hindi paper Jansatta says "it will not be surprised if the move proves counter-productive".

Is Advani era over?

Meanwhile, media are also discussing reports that Lal Krishna Advani, one of the founding members of the BJP, was unhappy with Mr Modi's appointment and did not attend Friday's press conference in protest.

The Asian Age wonders if the appointment spells the "end of an era" in the BJP due to the "peremptory sidelining" of party stalwart Advani.

The paper, however, says that post-election, Mr Modi may well need the veteran leader's help to attract allies.

The Pioneer too feels that "regardless of all that has happened, Mr Advani remains the party's tallest and most respected leader, and Mr Modi, more than anyone at this juncture, needs his guidance".

Moving on to other news, a temple in Guruvayur in the southern state of Kerala has rejected a request from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to share details about its gold assets, The Indian Express reports.

The Sri Krishna Temple is "one of the richest in India and has a vast quantity of gold and other valuables in its reserves", the report says and quotes an RBI spokesperson as saying that the information was only needed for a data collection exercise.

And finally, garbage bins in Delhi are all set for a makeover as the authorities have decided to invite painters to make them look beautiful, The Pioneer reports.

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