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Saturday, September 17, 2011, 08:41

Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who on Saturday began his three-day Sadhbhavna fast here, said the state has overcome several setbacks in the past decade and has set an example for everyone.

Today, the world is talking about Gujarat’s development, be it in the field of industry, agriculture, rural areas or urban poor,” Modi told his supporters at Convocation Hall of Gujarat University.

The world is also talking about Gujarat’s model of governance, Modi said, adding a day will come when Gujarat’s model of development while maintaining peace, unity and brotherhood will be taken note of.

Ruing votebank politics in the six decades post independence has ruined the nation, Modi said he doesn’t follow politics of appeasement.

Modi said Gujarat’s rise post the devastating 2001 earthquake, 2002 communal riots and the Akshardham temple attack set an example of peace, unity and brotherhood for the world.

“After the 2002 riots there was talk that Gujarat will slide back... there will be no investment. However, Gujarat overcame the crisis and rose to new heights,” Modi said.

After the 2008 serial blasts in Ahmedabad, six crore Gujaratis set an example of peace, unity and brotherhood, Modi said.

He noted that Gujarat had come a long way from the 1980s and ’90s when curfew and communal violence were daily occurrences.

Stating Gujarat follows the path of democracy, justice and Constitution, Modi said the state never tried to retaliate “when people hurled stones and attacked us”.

“We have used the stones hurled at us to build path of development,” the CM said.

He added that Gujarat wants to progress and help the nation.

Modi, who is celebrating his 61st birthday today, began his three-day Sadbhavana fast amid the presence of a galaxy of BJP leaders, including LK Advani, Arun Jaitley, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Kalraj Mishra, Vijay Goel, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudi and Smriti Irani among others. Punjab Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal Prakash Singh Badal is also present on the occasion.

AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has dispatched two emissaries -- M Thambidurai and V Maitreyan -- to extend her support to Modi’s fast.

“I deeply believe that this fast will further strengthen Gujarat's environment of peace, unity and harmony,” the chief minister said.

Earlier, in a letter to the people of Gujarat Modi said, "The unhealthy environment created by the unfounded and false allegations made against me and government of Gujarat, after 2002 riots, has come to an end."

Modi announced his move to sit on fast after the Supreme Court earlier this week refused to pass any order on the alleged inaction of the Gujarat CM to contain the 2002 communal riots which followed the Godhra carnage and referred the matter back to the trial court in Ahmedabad.

On the eve of his three-day fast, Modi expressed confidence that his mission would lend further strength to the nation's unity in diversity. He expressed sadness for the life lost in the Gujarat riots.

"India and Gujarat have realised that casteism and communal fanaticism does not serve anybody. Gujarat has risen over the distortions in society and national life to march on to the path of progress, peace, unity, harmony and brotherhood," he said in an official release.

A five-tier security has been put in place for the fast which has turned out to be a grand affair.

Prior to Modi beginning his fast, senior Congress leader Shankarsinh Vaghela, surrounded by Congressmen in Gandhi caps, launched his parallel fast at the Gandhi Ashram to counter that of the Gujarat CM.

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