Ahmedabad: Taking on Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the first time ahead of Gujarat Assembly elections, the Centre`s Group of Union Ministers (GoM) on Media on Wednesday countered the developmental claims being propagated by the BJP strongman.
Contesting Modi`s case that Gujarat was ahead of the rest of the country, the GoM, on a visit to the state, also rejected his claim that the Centre was discriminating against the state, saying such allegations are levelled by every non-Congress state government.
The GoM comprising Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni and Law Minister Salman Khurshid was here on Wednesday to flag the achievements of UPA-II in its first three years. Assembly elections in Gujarat are due in December this year.
Criticising the `Vibrant Gujarat` campaign of the Modi government, Soni said, "This is a state which is saying it has developed (but) where malnutrition among women and children is higher than the national average.
When malnutrition among women in India is 51 per cent, the figure of Gujarat is 55 per cent. In 2000, malnutrition among children here was 75 per cent but now it has risen to 80 per cent which is very high than the national average."
"Vibrancy comes in the state economy when women and children of the state are able to stand up on their own," she added.
Khurshid, who also handles Minority Affairs portfolio, refuted Modi`s claim that Muslims were better off in the state, saying that "there is nothing here to indicate that minorities are living in a better condition here in comparison to other states".
Modi had made the claim recently, addressing the BJP Minority Cell workers.
"Gujarat`s plan outlay has increased from Rs 21,700 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 51,000 crore in 2012-13, obviously bigger contribution is from the state`s own resource, but central government is also contributing, we are not discriminating against any state government," Chidambram said in reply to a question on alleged discrimination meted out to Modi.
"I face this question in all the non-Congress states. I am sure when NDA was in power it used to face the same charge from non-NDA states," he further said.