Seeking to downplay the issue of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's half-brother, Daljeet Singh Kohli, joining BJP, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram asked why nobody made a fuss over Karuna Shukla, former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee's niece, quitting BJP and joining Congress earlier.
"Why no question is being asked on (Karuna) Shukla, the niece of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had resigned from BJP and joined Congress. Instead they talk about Daljeet Singh joining BJP, whose acquaintance with the saffron party is just five days," Chidambaram told reporters here today.
Shukla, a former Lok Sabha MP, had resigned from BJP in October last year, alleging that she was being "continuously neglected" by senior leaders, and had later joined Congress.
The minister also criticised Yoga guru Ramdev over his "honeymoon" remark against Rahul Gandhi, saying he had insulted the Dalits. He also slammed BJP for defending Ramdev.
Targetting Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi over his claims about the Gujarat model of development, he said, "Based on the development indicators, we can describe Gujarat as an average state.
"As per the statistics, Gujarat ranks fifth in the country in terms of annual growth rate, while in terms of poverty headcount ratio (for the year 2011-12), it ranks 14th. The state's infant mortality rate is ninth in the country, while its literacy rate in the year 2011 puts it at 12th position in the country.
"When it comes to the number of households with electricity in the country, Gujarat is behind nine better performing states in the country, while its statewide coverage of roads, for the year 2011 (kms per 10,000 population) puts it at the 22nd position in the country.
"Therefore, touting the Gujarat model of development as universally applicable, is an exaggerated and boastful claim.
We reject it. Modi should moderate his claims," Chidambaram said.
Seeking to dispel the possibility of propping up Third Front government to keep Modi out of power, he expressed confidence that UPA would come to power after the polls.
The Finance Minister said that besides Modi, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa were creating obstacles in the implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST).