Staff Reporter, Bhopal
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma today described the current Lok Sabha elections as a confrontation between two ideologies “inclusive” and “liberal” ideology of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) ideology of “polarisation.”
“The Congress believes in setting up a mechanism wherein every individual feels that he is participating. On the other hand, the BJP divides people in the name of religion,” Mr Sharma told reporters here.
Condemning the promotion of “personality cult” by the saffron party in the form of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, he said the BJP was projecting only Mr Modi in its campaign while other BJP leaders were sidelined.
Flaying the ‘Gujarat model’ that was being touted by the BJP as panacea for all ills plaguing the country, Mr Sharma said Gujarat stood 17th in education sector, 10th in power sector and 16th in public toilet system in the country.
He claimed that the western state had actually slipped down in many development parameters in the past 10-15 years.
Pointing out that the Gujarat Chief Minister never responded to queries in state Assembly and did not hold a press conference in the past 12 years, he said, “Mr Modi cannot tolerate anyone asking him questions.
Even live coverage of the House proceedings is banned in Gujarat.” Alleging that the BJP had spent Rs 10,000 crore on publicity for projecting Mr Modi as the party’s prime ministerial candidate, Mr Sharma said publicity was being done on such a large scale for a person for the first time in any elections.
“We are accused of corruption. However, such huge amounts are being spent by the BJP. Charges are on this side while the money is on that side,” he said.
Replying to a query, Mr Sharma said the BJP had committed “political plagiarism” by rehashing the Congress election manifesto and presenting it as its own.
He asserted that the BJP’s manifesto was a “copy” of development programmes that the Congress was already working on.
He rubbished Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s former media advisor Sanjay Baru’s claim in his recently-published book that the Prime Minister surrendered to Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
“Ms Gandhi never ever tried to lower the dignity of the Prime Minister. She has never sought any information, which is on file which ministers are privy to.
Mr Baru has only put some spice in his book to make it a bestseller,” the Union Minister said.
On Dr Singh’s absence from campaign, he said the Prime Minister had addressed election rallies in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala and Karnataka. He would be addressing more rallies in north India shortly.
Mr Sharma lamented that the United Progressive Alliance Government was blamed for corruption even though it had brought the Right to Information Act and acted against its ministers and a chief minister when only charges had been made.
“On the other hand, mining mafia is ruling the roost in Madhya Pradesh. The state’s Professional Examination Board scam has ruined careers of several youths,” he added.