On a visit to Delhi Friday to finalise the annual plan for Gujarat,Narendra Modi took on the UPA government on the economy,and met both with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and BJP patriarch L K Advani.
Modi had tweeted about his appointment with Vajpayee earlier in the day but the visit to Advani,a day after the latter criticised party chief Nitin Gadkari on his blog,was a well kept secret.
Sources confirmed that a phonecall had been received at Advanis Prithviraj Road residence during the course of the day and Modi drove to the meeting after a brief visit to Vajpayee. Both are senior leaders,and it would have looked amiss if he had not visited Advani,especially after yesterdays blog and visiting Vajpayee, said a senior leader. Both meetings were brief and without photo-ops.
Modis trip to Delhi also coincided with an editorial published in the BJP mouthpiece Kamal Sandesh,which appeared to launch a thinly veiled attack him.
Without naming Modi,the editorial said: As one ascends the ladder,his understanding should also elevate. But the irony is that it is always seen that on reaching the top even after knowing that a day will come when he has to come down he tries to belittle the ones below him. When we applaud a person more than required then we in fact ourselves open the door of his possible distraction. Similarly if one is criticized in extremity,we open the door for his possible exit.
Prabhat Jha,the Madhya Pradesh BJP chief who heads the editorial team,said the editorial which also criticised some of the happenings in the BJP in Karnataka and Rajasthan was a general critique not aimed at an individual. The editorial is very simple and is only aimed at strengthening the organisation, Jha said.
At the Planning Commission,Modi told members,including Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia,that for the first time in a long time people have stopped believing the India growth story.
Outside,he said: The government has been taken as unawares as common people by the drop in GDP figures. During the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas,the PM had boasted of 7 per cent growth. But the government had no inkling… The government is in a coma,important policy decisions are not being taken,leading to policy paralysis and deterioration in the economic scenario, Modi said.
Sources said Modi came with a three-page list of issues on which,he said,the Centre had discriminated against Gujarat an alleged central sales tax payout shortfall of Rs 3,500 crore,four-laning of highways,and the state allegedly having to buy gas at commercial rates despite producing the bulk of Indias gas.
When MoS for Planning Ashwani Kumar pointed out that the Centre had paid out nearly Rs 27,000 crore to Gujarat,Modi is learnt to have shot back,How much have you taken out from the state in return for that?
Modi,however,did manage to get a sizeable increase of about 34 per cent in Gujarats annual plan.