‘Modi model’ divisive, says Sonia

Questioning the Gujarat model of development that has been the key selling point of the BJP in this election campaign, the Congress on Saturday said it was exclusive, discriminating against the poor and favouring select industrialists at the cost of the public.

“May God please save this country from this model,” Congress president Sonia Gandhi told an election rally in Punjab, while Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said at a press conference in New Delhi that Gujarat's record in road construction, rural poverty alleviation and human development was average.

‘SAD party to injustice’

Ms. Gandhi maintained that Mr. Modi had, under the touted model, uprooted Punjabi farmers who had been settled there for over 50 years.

Instead of speaking out against this, the Shiromani Akali Dal had, she claimed, become party to the “grave injustice.”

The two Congress leaders were joined by vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who told an election rally in Gujarat that the development model propagated by the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi favoured select industrialists.

“The real question is whether there is any model called a Gujarat model,” Mr. Chidambaram said. “Gujarat is an average State,” he pointed out, adding, “it has neither the best performance nor the worst performance. It lies somewhere in the middle.”

Mr. Chidambaram said Gujarat ranked fifth in the Gross State Domestic Product compounded annual growth rate, 15th in rural poverty head-count in 2011-12, ninth in human development index, 22nd in coverage of roads in 2011 and 10th in households with electricity.

“Mr. Modi is Chief Minister of an average State.”

Ms. Gandhi said: “In Gujarat, every second a five-year-old child is malnourished and those who get Rs 11 per day are not considered below the poverty line in Modi's model.”

“They will take the country to a situation where the poor, weak and the farmers will beg for their rights,” she said.

At Amreli in Gujarat, Mr. Gandhi said Mr. Modi was claiming credit for the hard work done by others.

“Modi has given a Rs. 26,000-crore contract to Adani for buying electricity from their company, which you use. The company whose value was Rs. 3,000 crore is now Rs. 40,000 crore,” Mr. Gandhi alleged “The money they [Modi govt.] gave to Adani is being in turn used for his marketing [election campaign]. Big posters are coming up all over the country. From where is the money coming? You tell me? This is the Gujarat Model. You give all the benefits to one industrialist.”