Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday sought to take the wind out of the “Gujarat Model” saying Narendra Modi is Chief Minister of an average State and the model being propagated by him was “exaggerated and boastful”.
“Gujarat is an average State. It has neither the best performance, nor the worst performance. It lies somewhere in the middle,” Mr. Chidambaram said while dismissing the BJP’s pitch of the “Gujarat Model” as “exaggerated and boastful”.
Mr. Chidambaram said that Gujarat ranked fifth in the Gross State Domestic Product compounded annual growth rate.
He said Gujarat ranks 15th in rural poverty head count in 2011-12, ninth in Human Development Index, 22nd in the coverage of roads in 2011 and 10th in Households with electricity.
He also said that it ranks 12th in the literacy rate, 15th in the social sector expenditure.
“Modi is Chief Minister of an average state,” the Finance Minister remarked when asked whether he would call Mr. Modi Chief Minister of a “failed State or an average State” given its performance on several indices.
Responding to questions about Congress leaders giving different figures of Mr. Modi’s election expenditure with Anand Sharma putting it at Rs. 10,000 crore and Kapil Sibal at Rs. 5,000 crore, he remarked in a lighter vein that he would put it in the middle at Rs. 7,000 crore.
He, however, hastened to add that there was no evidence. “The evidence is only observational evidence,” he said, adding anyone who has an experience of politics can guess after visiting a rally as to how much money has been spent.
He was asked whether any inquiry could be instituted into the huge funds pumped for campaigning and where they have come from.