Taking Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram head on, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Saturday said it was not “Harvard” but “hard work” that would ensure progress for the country.
Modi also accused the Congress of ruining all Constitutional bodies and charged that the ruling UPA showed disregard even for the Supreme Court.
Addressing a massive rally organised by the BJP here at Vandalur, Modi, with a smile on his face and to a huge applause from the crowd, dubbed Chidambaram as “recounting minister”, in an apparent reference to the controversy surrounding the Finance Minister’s election to the Lok Sabha in 2009.
While Chidambaram had dismissed his knowledge of economics as scant and which could be restricted to the space behind a postal stamp, Modi said a comparison of economic data between Gujarat and the Centre would paint a completely different picture.
While the average growth rate of India between 2001 and 2012 has been 7.6 percent, Modi said the growth in Gujarat, led by an ordinary tea-seller with little knowledge of economics, in the corresponding period was 10.1 per cent. The national unemployment figures for 2013, as per an NSSO survey, he said was 2.2 per cent whereas in his State, it was as low as 0.4 per cent.
“Facts speak for themselves. In 2013, national debt touched `50 lakh crore. This is almost 50 per cent of the national GDP. All states have debt much lower than this. Has not Harvard created this debt?” Modi questioned in a speech marked by his typical voice modulation.
On the sensitive fishermen issue in Tamil Nadu, Modi said the weak foreign policy of the UPA has pushed the country to such limits that Indian fishermen were held by foreign forces and are forced to languish in foreign jails. “TN fishermen are languishing in Lankan jails. Gujarat fishermen are in Pakistani jails. But the Centre is sitting with its hands tied,” he said.
No pact with DMDK?
The BJP may have given up on its attempts to pull the DMDK into its front. Party leader L Ganesan said most outfits, which want to be with the BJP, were represented on the dais. This included MDMK, IJK and KMDK. Deal with ‘one more party’ is about to be clinched, he said.