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‘Modi Red Fort rally a national embarrassment’

Kanwar Yogendra
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Says the fake symbolism was “highly undignified and churlish”

Anand Sharma
Anand Sharma

The Congress on Sunday termed Narendra Modi’s rally in Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh, on Saturday a a “national embarrassment,” hitting out at the BJP for making a mockery of a very important national sentiment by putting up a stage that looked like a Red Fort replica.

Talking to reporters here on Sunday, Union Commerce Minster Anand Sharma said the fake symbolism of addressing a rally from the ramparts of Red Fort was “highly undignified and churlish.” It would be exceedingly unfortunate for the country if a leader like him came somewhere near the real Red Fort to address the nation, the Minister added.

Reacting sharply to the possibility of the Gujarat Chief Minister being declared the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, and asked if the Congress was pitting Rahul Gandhi against him, Mr. Sharma said there was no dearth of talent in his party and the BJP’s claims regarding Gujarat were a farce.

“Rahul Gandhi is our hope and leading a reservoir of talent in Congress whereas Mr. Modi is making boastful claims in Gujarat.” Gujarat, the Minister said, was one of the most indebted States after West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.

The State, he said, witnessed the most malnutrition deaths in the country and dropout rate in its middle level schools was also the highest. There was a visible difference in urban and neglected rural areas in the “so-called vibrant State of Gujarat,” Mr. Sharma said.

Alleging that the State’s claims regarding unlimited FDI investment were false, the Minster pointed out that the country got $ 298 billion investment between 2000 and 2013, and out of it $272 billion came during the UPA’s rule. Maharashtra got FDI investment worth $ 67 billion, followed by Delhi ($ 36 billion) and then Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Gujarat, he said, lagged behind with just $8 billion of investment.

Earlier, Mr. Sharma announced an extension of the central capital investment subsidy scheme till March 2017 and a freight subsidy scheme for Himachal Pradesh. He said that his Ministry had pleaded with the Prime Minister to revive the discontinued industrial package for the hill State. Mr. Sharma, who hails from Shimla, is expected to lead the party in the State during the next general election.


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