A day after AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal announced his candidature from Varanasi and attacked BJP’s PM nominee Narendra Modi on the state of affairs in Gujarat, particularly on farmers’ issues, the state government on Wednesday dismissed his claims as a “falsehood” and an effort to “gain publicity”.
In a point by point rebuttal issued for the first time, the Gujarat government said the claims made by Kejriwal will have no effect on Modi’s popularity among citizen of this country. “…He is making bluffs following his political tradition. He might get some publicity but he will not be successful. People will give him a much-needed answer,” a state government statement said.
Addressing a rally in Varanasi on Tuesday, Kejriwal attacked Modi of being an “agent” of industrial houses and said land of farmers will be snatched and given to corporates if the latter comes to power at Centre.”Kejriwal is saying if Modi comes to power, land of farmers will be taken away forcibly….Even the top court of this country has praised the state government’s land policy,” the statement said.
The government said in Gujarat land was acquired at prevailing market price unlike in other states where “farmers are not even asked before acquisition of their land”.
“This is the reason why Gujarat is free from any agitation by farmers. This proves that Gujarat has pro-farmer policy,” according to the statement. On the issue of farmers’ suicide, the government said Kejriwal was making false claims. “When he (Kejriwal) came here (Gujarat), he said 800 farmers died in the state during last ten years, but now (in Varanasi) he increased the number to 5574,” the statement said.
“…But the fact is that only one farmer has committed suicide due to crop failure…This is the finest example of Kejriwal’s bluffs,” it said.
On Kejriwal’s allegation that Modi will support FDI if voted to power, the state government said, “Our party’s stated policy is against FDI in retail sector and we will never support FDI in retail.”
The state government also refuted Kejriwal’s claims that as many as 60,000 small and medium scale industries have shut shops in the state. “There are 5.19 lakh small and medium scale industriesrunning in the state. As per the survey of Central government, 22 per cent units were shut in 2001-02 while the number decreased upto 12 per cent in 2006-07,” according to the statement.
“…When 95 per cent units from those 5.19 lakh are running then why Kejriwal is making false claims,” the statement said.
Earlier this month, Kejriwal had undertaken a “fact finding” tour of Gujarat and summarily rejected Modi’s claims on development in that state.