BJP makes light of PM Manmohan Singh's speech at Gujarat rally (Update:PM)

Ahmedabad/Lucknow, Dec.9 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made light of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech at a campaign rally in Gujarat on Sunday, saying that Singh was just an addition to the Congress Party's 'Campaign of Calumny'.

Singh had lashed out at the Gujarat government for failing to develop rural regions of the province and provide basic health and education facilities to the backward sections.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said in Ahmedabad that the PM's attack on the Narendra Modi-led state government was in contradiction with his own government's findings on Gujarat's positive performance record.

"He is certainly welcome to Gujarat to campaign for the Congress party, but has come and joined, unfortunately, the campaign of calumny, based on untruths and misleading the public with falsehoods. It is really worrying that the Prime Minister has even forgotten that his own ministry, the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) has, in the last ten years, been certifying Gujarat as the best performing state in poverty eradication by the successful implementation of the 20-point programme," Sitharaman said.

Singh had said that he was disappointed that Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had failed to meet the aspirations Gujarat's people.

Fellow BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said in Lucknow that the upcoming assembly polls in Gujarat would see the Congress reduced to a minor political force.

"In spite of his speech, he is failing to draw crowds or garner votes. While I did not hear the full extent of his speech, the Congress, however, the Congress will be reduced to a minority player this time," Hussain said.

The first phase of the Gujarat assembly polls will take place on December 13, while the second will be held on December 17. Counting of votes will take place on December 20.

Narendra Modi is seen as the strongest candidate of BJP during general elections in two years, thanks to rapid growth and a perception of corruption-free governance in his state, which has five percent of India's population but contributes 16 percent to national industrial output.

Under the high profile but controversial Modi, Gujarat stands apart in a country that doesn't always make it easy for manufacturers.

Earlier, Modi had embarked on series of three-day fasts to promote 'harmony', which was seen as a way of helping revamp the image of a leader accused by critics of complicity in communal riots that killed at least 1,000 people in 2002. (ANI)

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