Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has criticised his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi for his attempts to mislead the people by distorting facts on the implementation of the development and welfare schemes in the State.

“Wilful ignorance of the facts is a sin. Mr. Modi, who is aspiring to become the Prime Minister, should at least try to speak the truth,” he said. The Chief Minister, however, refused to react to queries on the Telangana imbroglio claiming that the high-level committee would examine the issue and “there still is a lengthy process to follow.”

Mr. Kiran Reddy disputed Mr. Modi’s claims on several schemes, including skill development, employment generation, girl child protection scheme and public distribution system. Andhra Pradesh had been a trendsetter in the implementation of spree of welfare schemes and “we need not learn from other States.”

On the skill development side, he said the State government had trained youth and succeeded in generating 3.25 lakh jobs in the last two years making a budgetary allocation of Rs. 415 crore. It was targeted to train close to 3.5 lakh youth during the current fiscal while Gujarat Government had targeted coverage of 55,000 youth spending Rs. 106 crore.

On the PDS, he said over 7.5 crore of the 8.4 crore population was covered in the State and plans were afoot to roll out scheme ensuring coverage of 94 per cent of the population. This was against a meagre 30 per cent of the over six crore population of Gujarat.

“Differential rates are being applied in Chhattisgarh and other States while it is a uniform Re.-1-a-kg rice in our State,” he said. The same was the case with housing, pensions, crop loans and other schemes where other States were nowhere near Andhra Pradesh.

The Chief Minister was particularly critical of Mr. Modi on his claims of the girl-child protection scheme introduced in Madhya Pradesh.

“Why is the scheme not being implemented in Gujarat in the first place? It is Andhra Pradesh which gave legal sanctity to the comprehensive Bangaru Thalli scheme,” he said asserting that the State which stood as a role model.

He took exception to the Gujarat Chief Minister’s criticism of the Congress-led UPA government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on bilateral relations.

“Bilateral issues are sensitive and they should be resolved through negotiations. Given the advanced weapon systems each country has, any provocative statement will lead to a war-like situation which is not in the interest of the nation,” he said.