Anand Sharma says Modi is a national embarrassment

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ANANDNEW DELHI, August 17; A day after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi gave his Independence Day speech in Kutch, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Friday termed Mr. Modi a “national embarrassment.” “Mr. Modi may be an asset to the BJP but he is a national embarrassment. I can say this without any hesitation. He is boastful and makes tall claims about the development model of Gujarat,” he told reporters here.

Lashing out at Mr. Modi for “using distasteful language” and “dragging the political discourse to a new low,” Mr. Sharma said he found it difficult to formulate an equivalent response. “This is not part of our culture. Humility and dignity has not touched the Gujarat Chief Minister; otherwise he would have refrained from saying what he has said. This exposes him [more than it endears] him to people. The people of this country do not expect political leaders to use such language and insult institutions. Prime ministerial position is an institution and, on Independence Day, to say such things is not doing anything positive to the prestige of the institution,” Mr. Sharma said.

Countering Mr. Modi’s “false” claims about Gujarat’s developmental model, the Minister said Mr. Modi ought to “claim honour and credit” for his State’s high incidence of school dropouts and malnutrition deaths as compared to neighbouring States, besides a poor track record with respect to accessibility of safe drinking water.

Mr. Sharma said the Chief Minister’s claims about investments worth lakhs of crores coming into “vibrant Gujarat” were “nothing but a bundle of lies.” Gujarat, which had attracted but $9 billion FDI over the last 13 years, was behind Maharashtra, which had drawn $67 billion, Delhi ($36 billion), Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Speaking of the UPA’s record in this regard, Mr. Sharma said: “Since 2000 and up to 2013, updated data available with RBI reveal that in the six-year NDA regime, the FDI inflows were around $30 billion up to 2004. However, after coming to power in 2004, the UPA government has been able to create an investment climate resulting in inflow to the tune of $273 billion till date.”

“Mr. Modi is boastful and brags about [nonexistent] achievements. He is not an individual who has shown any compassion and humility, or comprehension of economic issues, international issues or geo-strategic issues. It’s not for us to say ‘good luck’ to the party that thinks that he is valuable to them.”

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