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Congress leaders lambast Modi for anti-PM remarks in planning body

Saturday October 22, 2011 10:31:10 PM, IANS

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New Delhi: Congress chief ministers Saturday lambasted Bharatiya Janata Party's Narendra Modi for having gone against the spirit of a non-partisan forum like the National Development Council (NDC) and spoken along party lines.

Gujarat Chief Minister Modi had earlier sought to find fault with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech at the NDC meeting and wondered why he steered clear of the vexed issue of price rise.

"It is unfortunate that at the meeting concerned with planning for the future, there was not a word on price rice," Modi told reporters on the sidelines of the NDC meeting. "He is so insensitive."

Modi -- whose government has had run-in with state Governor Kamla Beniwal on appointment of Lokayukta -- wondered if Singh's words about the need for various pillars of democracy to play a constructive role applied to the post of governor also.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda slammed Modi for trying to score brownie points. "The way he was speaking, I felt I was sitting in an election rally in Gujarat," Hooda told IANS.

Hooda said states also had to play their role in curbing prices and added that Gujarat should reduce value added tax on diesel.

In his speech, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also faulted Modi for speaking along party lines. "There should not be party politics at the meeting," Gehlot said after the meeting.

Gehlot said the Congress had been fighting against corruption for decades and it was former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi who unambigously conveyed his concern by stating that only a small portion of development funds from the centre reached the beneficiaries.

Congress leaders said privately that Modi was throwing signals to his own party about his prime ministerial ambitions by trying to find faults with Manmohan Singh's speech.

Modi slammed the UPA government both in his written speech and his oral intervention. He said Singh had called upon the states to work with the central government, but it should be a two-way mechanism, where the centre also takes care of the states.

Modi also criticised the prime minister for linking slowdown in growth to financial difficulties in some developed countries, saying that Gujarat was an industrialised state and had achieved the growth target set by the Planning Commission.

Slamming the government for its policies on energy and coal, Modi said: "It will be the first Diwali when there will be darkness due to policies of the central government."

He also said the government should answer "whether NDC is bigger or the NAC (National Advisory Council)".

Modi accused the centre of attempting to tinker with the federal structure of the country and said the confidence of people had been shaken due to corruption.

The Gujarat chief minister said there was a "credibility crisis" in the country and the confidence of people in governance had been shaken to the core.

Modi demanded a white paper on the discretionary fund given by the central government to various states.








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