Targeting the Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government, Uttar Pradesh Congress President Rita Bahuguna Joshi on Saturday alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party based its electoral campaign on fabrication of facts, and said that her party is confident that the Gujarat Chief Minister will not be a factor in the 2014 general elections.
“If the Modi effect didn’t work in Karnataka and Himachal, then how can it have an impact here (on the general elections)?” Bahuguna asked.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Sangh Parivar are very good at spreading lies. …They are an expert at deception. They lead on that front. …None of the BJP-ruled states are flourishing. They merely use deceit to make tall claims of their work. Till when will they hide the facts? Lies can’t hide for too long. Truth prevails in the long run,” Bahuguna said.
Specifically commenting on the recent CAG report that measured every third child in Gujarat was proved to be underweight, the Congress leader elaborated on the Human Development Index of the state, and said it proves that there is no development in the state.
“We’re not just saying this today, but it is something that we have maintained throughout. The Gujarat development model, which is being publicized, is one that is fake and everything is proving just that. The Human Development Index in Gujarat is not good. Whether it is the state of women or children or of Dalits. Additionally, malnutrition rates are amongst the highest in the country,” Bahuguna said.
“The state of infrastructural development is also not very good. Only, a few large-scale corporates are benefiting. That doesn’t prove any development. I am very happy that the facts of Gujarat are coming before the people,” she added.
Bahuguna also touched on the communal factor in the 2014 general elections, and said the Gujarat Chief Minister has not created an atmosphere for secularism and inclusivity of tribals and Dalits in the state.
“I also want to say that the state of communal harmony is amongst the worst in the country. The condition of Dalits in Gujarat is not good. Tribals are not doing well either. Children are deprived of nutrition. Women are not safe there. So, I ask, on what grounds is there development and progress there? If development does not touch the lives of the people, then there is no development,” she said.
On Friday, the CAG released its report of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in Gujarat, which is aimed at fighting malnutrition among children, and concluded that every third child in the state is underweight.
“Though there were 223.16 lakh eligible beneficiaries under Supplementary Nutrition (SN) programme under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), 63.37 lakh beneficiaries were left out," the CAG said in its report, which was tabled in the state Assembly on October 4.
"As against the target of 300 nutrition days annually, shortfall in providing SN was up to 96 days. Every third child in the state was reported as underweight. Shortfall of 27 per cent to 48 per cent was noticed in the implementation of nutrition programme for adolescent girls," the report added.
The CAG report also concluded that the Gujarat population of 1.87 crore was deprived of the benefits of ICDS.
In November, 2008, the Centre had directed the Gujarat government to submit a proposal for additional projects based on the revised population criteria, however, the state failed to do so.
ICDS was launched in 1975 by the Central Government to endorse the all-round development of children, —upto the age of six—expectant and lactating mothers and adolescent girls through package services comprising of nutrition, immunisation, health check-ups, health education and informal education of young children.
ICDS, which was funded entirely by the Centre till 2009, is now sponsored 10 percent by the state and 90 percent by the Centre.