Citing Narendra Modi's Gujarat debt burden, Digvijay Singh dismisses development discourse

Written by PTI | Lucknow | Updated: Apr 24 2014, 00:44am hrs
DigvijayNarendra Modi talks about Gujarat development model, whereas today it has a debt of Rs 1.42 lakh cr: Digvijay Singh. Reuters
Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh today dismissed BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's slogan of good governance and development, saying that Gujarat has a debt burden of Rs 1.42 lakh crore and as many as 20 of its officers are behind the bars.

"Modi talks about development model of Gujarat, whereas today it has a debt of Rs 1.42 lakh crore... Although in terms of total amount it is less than that of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, it is very high in terms of per capita," Singh told reporters here.

Whether it is investment, production, education, health or employment, Gujarat is not number one in any indicator of development, he added.

"As many as 20 officers of Gujarat are in jail... Convicted Babu Bokhiria and Purushottam Solanki, who is accused in a Rs 400-crore scam, are in the ministry," Singh said, taking a dig at Modi's slogan of good governance.

Lauding his party's vice president Rahul Gandhi, Singh said the latter's admission that the UPA government made a few mistakes shows his "humility".

"Which government does not falter... The government has made a few mistakes. Admitting this is Rahul's humility," he said in a reply to a question.

Singh said the ongoing elections are a battle between two ideologies. While the Congress wants to take all sections of the society -- poor, tribals and minorities -- with it by maintaining communal harmony, the other forces want to hand over the country to corporate houses, he said.

They are also fighting the elections on money provided by the corporates, he alleged. Claiming that the Election Commission, which keeps an account of every table and chair of candidates, has overlooked this expenditure, Singh said the UPA would consider this when it comes to the power again.

He claimed that Modi has captured BJP and RSS with the help of corporate houses and their money power, and has become larger than the party itself.

"I must appreciate Rajnath Singh who has again become the (BJP) president after (Nitin) Gadkari... and now has become the most powerful one after Modi... All those close to Atal Bihari Vajpayee have been sidelined," he said.

Attacking the ruling Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh over last year's riots in Muzaffarnagar, Singh said, "The riots could have been avoided, but the administration did not care..."

"If a Chief Minister does not want then riots cannot take place... Incident of communal violence may occur, but not the riots like Muzaffarnagar and Gujarat," he claimed.

On Aam Aadmi Party leader Shazia Ilmi's reported suggestions to Muslims to become "communal", Singh said any such statement should be condemned.

Raising the issue of Modi's marriage, the Congress leader said if Modi had not clarified his marital status in the last three Assembly elections, his nomination papers should have been cancelled by the commission, but it was ignored and "it was our fault not to raise the issue".

Singh said chants of 'Har Har Modi' and 'NaMo, NaMo' have hurt the religious sentiments of the people and BJP must apologise for it.

When asked that the withdrawal of two Congress candidates -- Ramesh Chandra Tomar from Gautam Buddha Nagar and Sanjay Jaiswal from Basti -- from the poll battle, Singh avoided a direct reply. "Ask this question to party general secretary and UP in-charge (Madhusudan Mistry)," he said.