When will `Aakash` come down to earth? asks Modi

Chief Minister Narendra Modi took a swipe at the Congress in Gujarat for its promise to provide free laptops if it came to power.

Gandhinagar: Taking a swipe at the Congress in Gujarat for its promise to provide free laptops if it came to power, Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the much hyped low-cost `Aakash` tablets promised by the Centre have not come down to earth yet.

Modi told a gathering on the occasion of Teachers Day that the Congress-led UPA government was "dragging its feet" on distribution of Aakash tablet PCs and accused the Centre of failing to honour its much-hyped commitment. Aakash has been billed as the world`s cheapest personal computer.

"I want to tell students that eleven months ago a Minister of Congress-led UPA government Kapil Sibal, had organised a big event at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi, and launched Aakash tablet in the presence of country`s top most media," Modi said.

"He (Sibal) had stated that the world`s cheapest low-cost PC would be made available to students at Rs 3,000. Mind you, it was not for free, you had pay for it," he said, adding even after paying no tablet PC has been delivered since its launch.

"Eleven months have passed by, but no Aakash tablet has come down to Earth...Now I realise why this gizmo is named `Aakash` (pun intended - sky)," Modi quipped.

The dig at Congress came against the backdrop of opposition Congress yesterday announcing free laptops to students if voted to power in the Assembly elections due by the end of the year.

"Kash (If only) this Aakash tablet could land on Earth, then the lie (promise of free laptops by state Congress) they (Congress) are spreading now would hold some weight," Modi said in sarcastic comments aimed at blunting Congress` aggressive campaigning ahead of the polls.

"They (Congress) have turned away their faces from telling truth to the people. That`s why I want to inform you what is the truth," he told a large gathering of students.

The event was held to mark Teachers` Day celebrations broadcast live through Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics (BISAG) across one lakh schools in the state.

`Aakash` project is a scheme of the Ministry of Human Resource and Development under which a million low cost tablet computers are planned to be distributed in the colleges at a procurement price of Rs 2,276 per unit.


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