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Maharashtra already way ahead of Gujarat on many counts: Congress
Sunday October 5, 2014 11:25 PM, IANS

The Congress Sunday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what it termed the "continuous insults and threats" to Maharashtra during his election rallies in the state over the past two days.

Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma said that in all his speeches, Modi claims that if the state votes for the Bharatiya Janata Party, he would take Maharashtra ahead of his home-state Gujarat.

"But, Maharashtra is already way ahead of Gujarat on many counts - foreign investment, industry, social development, infrastructure, employment, education, etc... now how much forward is he going to take Maharashtra," Sharma said in a potshot at Modi's claims.

"On the contrary, in comparison to Maharashtra, Gujarat stands nowhere, and that state has a low human development index, malnutrition, high school dropouts, fear among minorities.. it has been thrown to fifth position in foreign investments. Instead of concentrating on these, Modi is trying to fool the people of Maharashtra," the former union minister claimed.

Referring to Modi imploring voters to give a strong BJP government in Maharashtra for maintaining good relations with the Centre, Sharma termed it as "nothing but a threat".

He said in a federal democratic structure, irrespective of which party is in power in the state, the Centre must give them attention. Modi has not even called a meeting of all chief ministers till date, he added.

"Statements like only if a BJP government comes to power in the state then it will result in good relations with Centre does not suit the prime minister. He made similar statements even in Haryana," Sharma noted.

By giving the state to Modi, Maharashtra would not tolerate a chief minister who would be a puppet in the hands of the prime minister, he said.

He noted that when the UPA was in power at the Centre and Modi was Gujarat chief minister, the Congress never compared Gujarat or any other state in such a manner.

Sharma also lashed out at Modi for his "autocratic rule" in which the union cabinet ministers are reduced to "name sake", with no powers to take any decisions.

"The PMO takes all decisions and merely informs the concerned ministers. For the first time in Indian history, the country does not have a fulltime defence minister and it is entrusted to the finance minister (Arun Jaitley) who is ailing," he said.

On Modi's oft-repeated questions about "what Congress achieved in 60 years rule", Sharma said that all development projects which the PM has inaugurated till now were undertaken during the Congress reign.

"India's successful Moon and Mars missions, Jammu and Kashmir railway, mega-power projects, and many others were all started and completed during the Congress rule. But Modi has not shown the courtesy of making even a reference to the Congress prime minister for the success of all these projects," he said.

He said that Modi had promised to bring back the black money stashed in foreign banks within 100 days, but not a dime has been brought, inflation and unemployment continue to soar, and the government could not take advantage of the falling oil prices in the world market.

"Merely talking loud or showing off does not get global recognition, for that you need patience, planning, wisdom and smartness... You cannot fool the country repeatedly," Sharma said, referring to Modi's claims of achievements from his recent foreign tours.

On Maharashtra assembly elections, Sharma claimed that the Congress was in a comfortable position to return to power for a fourth term.

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