Congress failed to eradicate poverty, says Modi

Pune, July 14 (IANS) Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Sunday accused the Congress of cheating the people of the country by failing to keep its promise of poverty alleviation, announced by then prime minister Indira Gandhi in the 1970s.

"They promised to eliminate poverty 35 years back... someone should ask them what happened to that promise," he said referring to the call of "garibi hatao" - the theme and slogan of Indira Gandhi's 1971 election and later also used by her son and prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

"Is this not betrayal? The poor of India kept filling their ballot boxes, and now they have directly accepted that they cannot remove poverty," Modi said, addressing BJP workers here.

Modi, whio heads the chief Bharatiya Janata Party's poll campaign committee, also targeted the food security ordinance issued by the Congress-led central government.

Speaking at the Fergusson College earlier, Modi took a dig at Pune MP Suresh Kalmadi, saying that India lost its respect on the international stage by the way they organised the Commonwealth Games.

"A small country like South Korea hosted the Olympics and got international appreciation. But we, we made fun of ourself in organising a small event like Commonwealth Games," he said.

Modi also emphasised the importance of education, but stressed that India needed modernisation, not westernisation.

"We need modernisation, not westernisation, of our educational system. I support modern education but not blind aping of the West," he said, adding that the government needed to spend more on higher education.

"China allotted 20 percent of its GDP to its educational system as against India's barely four percent. We need to spend 25 percent GDP on education today," he added.