Press Council of India Chairman Markendya Katju on Sunday hit out at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi describing as “phoney” his claims of development in the State and saying its malnutrition rate was worse than Somalia.

Mr. Katju said Mr. Modi had made tall claims about the development in Gujarat but pointed out that the living standards of the common people was still “abysmal”.

Citing figures, he told reporters that Gujarat’s malnutrition rate was higher than that of poor countries like Somalia in Africa.

Mr. Katju said the development claim in Gujarat was “phoney”, since it had not helped the common man in any way. The time may come when the people of the State would themselves realise that the development about which Mr. Modi boasts a lot was of no use to them, he said. He also touched upon the 2002 post-Godhra riots.

“There is no way in which the blot on Mr. Modi’s name due to the 2002 Gujarat communal riots can be wiped out,” Mr. Katju said.

Asked what he thought of Mr. Modi’s third successive win in Assembly elections, he said that everyone knows how polls are fought and won these days in the country.

He said that in sharp contrast, there was no blot on another BJP-ruled State Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan’s name.