He launches a tirade against Narendra Modi

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Thursday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had committed “political plagiarism” by rehashing the Congress election manifesto and presenting it as its own.

The BJP’s manifesto was a “copy” of development programmes that the Congress was already working on, he told presspersons at the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office here.

Launching a tirade against BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi, Mr. Sharma alleged that there was no democracy in Gujarat and that the State Assembly had not met for more than 23 days a year since 2002.

He said, “All that he [Mr. Modi] has done is to ensure that the Opposition members are suspended from the Assembly within a day or two after the session commences. He has always delegated questions that have to be answered by the Chief Minister to other Ministers.”

Mr. Sharma termed the ‘Gujarat model’ that the BJP was harping on a “disaster”. He said Gujarat was the third highest debt-ridden State after West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. “When Mr. Modi took over as Chief Minister of Gujarat, the State’s debt was Rs. 45,000 crore. It has now gone up to Rs 1.76 lakh crore,” he said.

While Gujarat ranked 17th in education, the number of students dropping out was as high as 27 per 1,000 students. The State also had the dubious distinction of having the highest malnutrition rate (44 per 1,000) among children, he claimed. This apart, that State was also known for its low per capita income and poor sanitation facilities, he said.

Levelling several personal charges against Mr. Modi, he said the projection of one man above his party, society and even the country posed a grave danger to democracy. “Such a personality cult culture is dangerous for democracy.”

He said, “The BJP is claiming that Gujarat had attracted the highest foreign direct investment (FDI). In reality, between 2000 and 2013, the total FDI that came into India was $303 billion. While Maharashtra tops the list by attracting FDI of $64 billion, Gujarat is in the fifth place with $8 billion. Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are ahead of Gujarat,” he said.

On the occasion, Mr. Sharma released two documentaries — Rajiv to Rahul and Congress Ki Tyag Aur Balidan — brought out by the KPCC’s IT Cell.

More In: Karnataka | National