The Congress and BJP on Monday engaged in a sparring match over the Gujarat government’s revised definition of Below Poverty Line (BPL) families pegged on the basis of a daily earning of Rs 10.80, way below the Planning Commission’s no less controversial figure of Rs 23 and Rs 28 a day in urban and rural areas, respectively.
The Congress, which was earlier at the receiving end for the UPA government’s endorsement of the plan panel’s criteria of fixing the poverty line, tried to get even with the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over Gujarat’s even lower estimate.
Addressing a specially called media briefing, Congress communication department head Ajay Maken said, “Leaders and spokespersons of the BJP were mocking the poverty determination figures given by the Planning Commission. Now we ask the BJP and Modi, why did the Gujarat government’s Civil Supply Department put the BPL even lower, at Rs 10.80?”
With all political parties out to prove that their hearts beat for the population living below the poverty line prior to the Lok Sabha elections, the issue gained momentum.
Maken naturally did not want to let off what could be played up as a political faux pas from the Gujarat government’s side.
“If pegging earnings below Rs 32 per day was a joke and the Congress/UPA government had been accused of being insensitive in counting the poor when the plan panel figures came out in 2012, then how should the Modi government’s figure be described,” Maken asked.