Stating repeatedly that Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to be functioning as the PM of Gujarat alone, former Union minister P Chidambaram on Saturday said it was “churlish and uncharitable” to denigrate the state of Maharashtra and the achievements of the state government over the past 15 years.
“It is saddening that somebody can rubbish Maharashtra and get away with it… It is extremely unfortunate that the Gujarat model is being sold in Maharashtra. There is nothing in the Gujarat model that is worth selling here. There is nothing to support the claim that Gujarat is better than Maharashtra,” the former Union minister said at an interaction with mediapersons in Mumbai. Chidambaram added that on a variety of parameters, including per-capita income, investments, infant mortality rate, maternal mortality rate, literacy, women’s representation in lcoal bodies and in higher education, Maharashtra had an established track record.
Modi appeared to have forgotten that he was sworn in as the Prime Minister of the country on May 26, Chidambaram said. “He is still campaigning as the Gujarat chief minister… He appears torn between being Gujarat CM and PM. As you can’t take Gujarat out of him, he seems to have settled as the PM of Gujarat,” the Congress leader said.
Governance, the platform Modi came to power on, appeared to have been ignored, said Chidambaram, stating that key posts in government institutions, including the National Disaster Management Authority, CIC and CVC, were vacant. He added that several banks were functioning without chairmen or executive directors.
On the four months of the NDA government, Chidambaram said there was a repackaging and renaming of UPA schemes, including the Swachha Bharat Abhiyan, which he said was the UPA-era Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, and the Jan Dhan Yojana, which the UPA launched as a financial inclusiveness programme with 23 crore “no frills” bank accounts opened. He added that the UPA’s Skill Development Mission under S Ramadorai was now set to be renamed Skill India. “Chandrayaan or the Mars Orbiter Mission were not built after May 26,” he said, citing the Jammu-Katra railway, warships and road projects Modi recently inaugurated as other examples.
On the reinvention of the Congress, the former Union minister said the party needed changes in its organisational structure so that new leaders emerged at the district and state levels.
With regard to economic growth, Chidambaram said there were “serious concerns” in the NDA regime. Announcements in the Union budget had not been backed with clear policy statements, he said.
On whether growth between 5 and 6 per cent was possible, the former Union minister said this would depend largely on the second and third quarters’ GDP growth data.
“If the second quarter number is above 5 per cent, then growth between 5 and 6 per cent is possible,” he said. He also pointed out RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, while in Washington, hinted that the second and third quarters would fare somewhat poorly in comparison with the first quarter.