Even as the campaigning for the Delhi Assembly elections officially came to an end on Monday, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit launched a frontal attack on Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and came up with comparative figures to prove that Delhi has been performing much better than Gujarat on several fronts.
During his public meeting at Dakshinpuri in South Delhi on Sunday, the Gujarat Chief Minister had targeted the Delhi Government stating that the Congress had failed to address the major problems in the city despite being at the helm for past 15 years.
Speaking to journalists at her last press conference before the election campaigning came to an end, Ms. Dikshit said while the BJP and Mr. Modi have been talking about the Gujarat model of development being the best in the country, the reality is different.
“As per the UN index 2013, in respect of population under severe poverty, figure for Delhi is 3 per cent, whereas for Gujarat, it is 6 times higher at 19 per cent. In terms of the total expenditure on social sector as compared to the percentage of its budget, Delhi’s stands third in ranking in the country with expenditure of 47.9 percent. On the other hand, Gujarat is placed at 21st position with total expenditure in social sector at 37.6 per cent,” said Ms. Dikhit.
“We provide monthly pension to senior citizens, widows and disabled ranging from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1500, whereas Gujarat is releasing a meager amount of Rs. 200-400 per month. Delhi’s green cover is being acclaimed across the world. While Delhi hiked its green cover from approximately 1 per cent in 1998 to 20 per cent now, in Gujarat it has decreased from 13 to 11 per cent,” she added.
Without naming the Gujarat chief minister, Ms. Dilkshit said: “Some people coming from outside say Delhi is a misgoverned state. Had that been the case, people of Delhi would not have been voting for the Congress party over the past 15 years. We have been winning on the plank of good governance and development.”
Accusing the opposition BJP and Aam Aadmi Party of “misleading” the electorate on the issue of power tariff and prices of essential commodities, Ms. Dikshit said “the opposition is putting up haordings and billboards with wrong figures, which means either they are trying to mislead people or are helping the hoarders”.
Professor of Economics at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, at the Jawaharlal Nehru University Jayati Ghosh said: ``I do not want to get into Delhi versus Gujarat debate, but I would like to state that the Gujarat model is being overplayed, especially by the media.’’
``Not only Delhi, several other states have been performing better than Gujarat when it comes to improving the real life condition of people. Similar to other states like Maharashtra, Gujarat has always been one of the industrialised states of the country. But in terms of human development index, minimum wage rate, immunization programmes etc, Gujarat is ranked at the middle level performing states. Nothing much has been achieved over the last one decade,’’ she added