BJP trying to set up a ‘battle between two leaders’,says Anand Sharma

BJP trying to set up a ‘battle between two leaders’,says Anand Sharma

The minister also dismissed reports about Modi surging ahead of Rahul in terms of popular support.

Attacking the Opposition BJP for seeking to turn the next general elections into a “battle between two leaders”,Commerce & Industry Minister Anand Sharma took a swipe at BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi,saying he is “obsessed” with the Presidential system of the US,which has “denied him a visa”.

Asked why the Congress is shying away from declaring its prime ministerial candidate,Sharma told The Indian Express,“The BJP keeps on raising this issue. They are trying to make it a battle between two leaders. Modi and the BJP should realise that we are a Parliamentary democracy. We don’t have a Presidential system of government. People vote for MPs who elect the Prime Minister. Modi has an authoritarian bent of mind and his intolerance is reflected in his political conduct. He is obsessed with the Presidential system of a country which has denied him visa. The next election is going to be a fight between ideologies and philosophies,between the Congress and the RSS.”

The minister said the UPA government did a lot of good work at a time of global economic slowdown and empowered citizens through the RTI,right to education,right to food,etc. But he conceded: “We should have communicated more effectively the good works that we did in a challenging global economic scenario. In the negative narrative,the positives have got drowned.”

He said that the share of manufacturing to the GDP has grown from 15 per cent to 25 per cent during the UPA regime. “We will make India the manufacturing hub of the world. In the next 10 years,we will create 100 million jobs through manufacturing.”


Questioning Modi’s claims of development in Gujarat,he said,“An impression is sought to be created that Modi has been a true deliverer when it comes to investment,job creation and growth. After every Vibrant Gujarat conclave,there is an announcement of MoUs worth 9-10 lakh crore. All claims put together will surpass FDI into the country in the last 13 years.” As per RBI’s published data,total FDI into the country since 2000 amounted to $297 billion. The highest FDI of $63.9 billion came into Maharashtra,followed by Delhi (including NCR region),which got FDI worth $36.65 billion; Tamil Nadu got $11.7 billion and Bangalore got $11.8 billion.

“Compared to these states,Gujarat got FDI worth $8.6 billion only. Gujarat performs poorly in the country even on account of death due to malnutrition; the same is true in case of school dropout rates,” said Sharma,adding that under Modi,there was “financial mismanagement and loss of revenue” in Gujarat. “When Keshubhai Patel was replaced (by Modi in 2001),Gujarat had public debts to the tune of around Rs 45,000 crore,which galloped to 1.38 lakh crore in 2012. Modi has made Gujarat the third most indebted state in India after west Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Will he also make India bankrupt?”

Asked if Rahul Gandhi’s invocation of the sacrifices made by the Nehru-Gandhi family would have any appeal to the younger generation,Sharma said,“It will not be good for the Indian democracy to ignore the contributions of national heroes. He (Rahul) only shared with the people the tragedies that left a void in him. He is not asking people to vote for that. It should not be viewed in isolation. When Rahul talks about job opportunities,industrial corridors,etc,he is addressing the aspirations of the youth.”

The minister also dismissed reports about Modi surging ahead of Rahul in terms of popular support. “It is premature to form any opinion that Modi is surging ahead. If you had gone by predictions of the last elections,we would not have formed UPA II government. Let’s believe in the collective wisdom of the voters.”