Chidambaram takes on CM, says no one bigger than state

Chidambaram
Finance Minister says Gujarat needs change of direction for inclusive growth.

Launching a scathing attack on Narendra Modi on the eve of first phase of polling, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram Wednesday said the chief minister equating himself with the state meant death-knell for democracy.

Addressing mediapersons, Chidambaram said that Gujarat had several tall leaders and chief ministers but none of them ever claimed that "I am the state". "But now I hear a chief minister calling himself as 'I', 'Me', or 'I alone' for the state," he said without taking the name of Modi.

Asserting that "no individual can arrogate that I am Gujarat", Chidambaram said all sections of society must have a voice in the government and such a government could be provided only by the Congress.

Chidambaram, who was here to campaign for his party candidates for the second phase of elections, appealed to people to vote for the Congress so that voice of every section was heard by the government.

He said Gujarat needed a "change of direction" for "inclusive growth" and to ensure that large sections of the state and society were not not left behind in development.

He said Gujarat's growth was lopsided as tribals, scheduled castes, minorities and the whole of Saurashtra region was left behind in development. "If growth does not include all areas and all sections of the population, it is not growth," he said, adding, "Congress wants growth of all areas and all sections."

To oft-repeated allegations of Modi that the Centre collected more taxes from Gujarat but gave much less in return, Chidambaram said this propaganda was an attack on federal system. "This is unfortunate and we stand up against such a propaganda," he said.

No state, including Gujarat, was discriminated in allocation of central funds, he added.

Giving figures, he said Gujarat was allocated Rs 9,403 crore in 2007-08, Rs 12,106 crore in 2008-09, Rs 13,022 crore in 2009-10, Rs 15,869 crore in 2010-11, Rs 17,654 crore in 2011-12 and Rs 11,517 crore till November of 2012-13.

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