Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday accused Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of projecting a false image of development in Gujarat in his bid to become Prime Minister. She also accused the BJP of not acknowledging the contribution of a vast section of society, including the poor, in Gujarat’s growth.
“Some people are talking of themselves in a big way. It is an old habit. They are projecting an image as if Gujarat is the only state that has developed. It is another matter that the poor have made sacrifices for this development,” Sonia said at a rally in this south Karnataka town bordering Andhra Pradesh. “The real picture of Gujarat is one of small scale industries shutting down, of tribals struggling for livelihood, of agricultural land being grabbed forcibly and of all kinds of atrocities on women. This is the real picture of Gujarat,” she added.
Calling Modi a divisive personality who does not believe in the country’s secular traditions, Sonia asked if such a person could be entrusted with the responsibility of building the nation. “The BJP is trying to attract voters with big claims and the pictures of one man. He is being presented as a magical hero,” she said.
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Unlike the BJP, the UPA has tried to take all sections of society along and has initiated multiple schemes in its 10-year tenure — including NREGA — to stop migration from rural areas to cities by providing jobs close to villages, free education for those between six and 14 years of age, the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and the JNNURM, Sonia said.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said the BJP manifesto proves the party has not changed its stripes. “They have kept old issues — Ram Temple, uniform civil code, Article 370 — alive. It is a sign that they want to foment trouble,” he said.