‘40% of state population still lives below poverty line’


It is high time people came out of the aura Narendra Modi has woven around himself and the illusion of state's growth over past 10 years under him with the help of marketing agencies be removed, senior Congress leaders said at a public meeting here on Sunday.

These leaders agreed Gujarat might have grown under Modi in some respects but much was left to be desired. "Others also have grown besides Gujarat - with the difference that others had progressed in a secular and an all-inclusive manner," Union Minister Ajay Maken said.

"Forty per cent of Gujarat's population still lives below poverty line and 41 per cent still have no access to pure drinking water," he said adding, "Gujarat's entrepreneurial spirit being acknowledged the world over but still its rate of growth over the past decade at .05 per cent which is much slower than state like Bihar and Orissa."

Endorsing Maken's view, Congress MP from Nagaur in Rajasthan Dr Jyoti Mirdha highlighted the poor state of health conditions of women and children. She said Modi had created a impression in Rajasthan about Gujarat's growth but a closer look showed the poor performance in maternal mortality rate and infant mortality rate in Gujarat.

She said a progressive state like Gujarat lagged behind in creating an effective drug delivery system like the one in Rajasthan. She apprehended that the "Vibrant Gujarat" would meet the fate as that of "India Shining".

Former MP Madhusudan Mistry said he would never forget the the old case of police firing on a helpless farmer family of Atarsumba in Sabarkantha district. "I will dig up the case whenever we come to power."

State Election Campaign Committee chairman Shankarsinh Vaghela attacked BJP president Nitin Gadkari for Dawood comments. "Bhai lok ne bhai lok yad ave (gangsters recall gangsters only)," he said of the now-infamous IQ comparison of Dawood and Swami Vivkanand.

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