Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday flayed the “Gujarat development model” propagated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, claiming that the state was in a much “worse” condition compared to Kerala or Tamil Nadu. The former Union minister alleged that Shah, currently on a three-day visit to Kerala, had insulted the people of the state and Tamil Nadu by urging them to follow the “Gujarat model”, which he described as a “failure on various fronts, including health, nutrition, education and social harmony”.
Claiming that the people of the two southern states were “healthier” and “lived longer” than their counterparts in Gujarat, he said, “The percentage of kids immunised is much lower in Gujarat than in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.” “He (Shah) is asking Kerala to follow the Gujarat model. It is an insult to the people of Kerala,” Ramesh told a press conference and took potshots at the prime minister for comparing the southern state with Somalia while addressing a BJP rally during the Assembly polls in the state in 2016.
“As far as the overall social indicators are concerned, Kerala has achieved the standards of the developed countries. Social indicators in Kerala are better than many parts of America,” he said. Renewing his attack on Modi over the Rs-20,000 crore Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC) “scam”, Ramesh alleged that as Gujarat chief minister, the BJP leader had “made GSPC borrow the money” after claiming in 2005 that it had found 20 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in the KG basin.
A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report had last year pointed out that Rs 20,000 crore of black money was given to GSPC, he claimed. The Congress leader further alleged that after becoming prime minister, Modi “forced” ONGC to buy GSPC’s gas block to “protect himself”.
“If Modi and Shah are claiming that it is a scam-free government, I would say it is a truth-free government. “It is not Congress-mukt Bharat but a satya-mukt sarkar (truth-free government). A government which has liberated itself from the truth,” he said.
Ramesh also referred to the Vyapam scam in Madhya Pradesh under BJP rule and the Lalit Modi episode in a bid to substantiate his allegations of corruption against the government. He also alleged that the scrapping of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 bank notes was a “big scam”. “Right before demonetisation, the BJP purchased a number of properties. They had prior knowledge about it,” he said.