Modi ridicules Sonia's claims

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Jamnagar, Dec 5: Chief Minister Narendra Modi has ridiculed Congress President Sonia Gandhi for "changing her stand on Gujarat's development".
''Earlier, Sonia Gandhi alleged before the public that there has been no development at all in Gujarat. But, now, she is telling that Gujarat has achieved development through the money provided by the UPA government,'' Mr Modi said while addressing a public meeting here last evening.

Gujarat contributes about Rs 40,000 crore annually to the central exchequer, but the Centre has provided less than Rs 4,000 crore to the state for its development, Mr Modi said.

After the killer earthquake in Gujarat, the Central Government had levied a surcharge, but has still not released the state's claim of Rs 1,600 crore, he said.

Referring to the Sardar Sarovar Project, Mr Modi said he was compelled to sit on a fast in order to prevail upon the Centre to raise the height of the dam to 121 metres. The Centre was not willing to raise the height, but had to relent finally. Large parts of the state have benefitted as a result of raising the height of the dam, Mr Modi said.

''The Congresss spent Rs 10,000 crore for construction of dams during 45 years. I have spent Rs 13,000 crore in five years,'' he said.

On the issue of Ram Sethu, Mr Modi ridiculed the Congress affidavit in the Supreme Court, and said the Congress has no knowledge about ''Ramayana''.

Taking a dig at the Gujarat Congress whose activists were recently engaged in a clash at the Congress Bhavan in Ahmedabad over the allotment of tickets, Mr Modi remarked, ''The Congress can not save its own office in Ahmedabad. How can they save Gujarat?'' The Chief Minister accused the Centre of being responsible for the rising prices of essential commodities. Referring to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, Mr Modi criticised the UPA Government for dithering on implementing the death sentence. On the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case in Gujarat, Mr Modi asserted that Sohrabuddin was a terrorist.

UNI

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