Congress leader and Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma today alleged that BJP was indulging in "political plagiarism". Addressing a press conference here, Sharma said that BJP simply "copy-pasted" the Congress manifesto in its vision document.
He also said that voters would keep "the personality cult and authoritarianism" out of power. "BJP manifesto talks of five 'T's -- tradition, talent, tourism, technology and trade. It also speaks of creating new cities. There are four industrial corridors proposed. The Mumbai-Delhi corridor, which is in progress, is the second largest infrastructure project in the world," Sharma said. "We have always been traditional because of our ancient culture; there is no dearth of talent in our country; trade is going on since the Silk Route; and as far as technology is concerned, we have reached the Mars and (are) also making satellites. What are the BJP and Modi talking about?" "BJP has indulged in political plagiarism," he said.
Hitting out at BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Sharma said, "When Modi speaks, there is only hatred and anger. There are no expressions of sensitivity, pain on his face." He also accused RSS and BJP of spending Rs 10,000 crore to make Modi the Prime Minister. Sharma however said that Congress was a little late in exposing Modi's "false Gujarat model of development projections". He also countered BJP's argument that government should order a probe if it suspected that the party's campaign was excessively expensive, saying that Modi knew very well that a probe cannot be ordered during the elections, and therefore he was making such statements in his "fixed" media interviews.
The Union Minister alleged that 80 per cent of the hoardings, the advertising space in the national and regional dailies and airtime on TV and radio channels had been bought by the BJP "for one person". "Calculate it with the prescribed rates for advertising and the number of newspapers and 714 TV channels. The party is not showing this expenditure to the Election Commission. From where the money has come? Much of the money was spent before the Code of Conduct came into force," he said. Sharma also said that an election campaign of this magnitude was unprecedented in the country's history.
"Congress does not have this kind of resources and money," he said.
The opinion polls predicting a Modi wave were "fixed" and "doctored", he said. He defended UPA's economic record by saying that "it's only in the last two years that there has been an economic slowdown. But countries across the world have yet to revive after the global meltdown of 2008". By belittling the achievements of UPA government, BJP was lowering the country's morale, he said. Dismissing "the Gujarat model", Sharma said as per the RBI data, of the USD 305 billion of Foreign Direct Investment, Maharashtra had received the highest USD 64 billion, while Gujarat was at number 5 with USD 9 billion investment. "Going by the claims made at Vibrant Gujarat summits about the investment committed every year, it should be more than USD 305 billion, the national figure," he said.
He also said that opposition members in Gujarat Assembly are suspended most of the time during the sessions. "Modi has never answered a starred question and has never spoken in the Vidhan Sabha even on thanksgiving motion on Governor's address. "Electronic media and press photographers are not allowed in the Vidhan Sabha premises. All phones in the state are tapped," he said, adding that Gujarat had turned into a police state.