Pranab flays Modi for raking up Nandigram issue in Gujarat elections

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Vadodara, Dec 12 (UNI) Union External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee today hit out at Chief Minister Narendra Modi for making Nandigram violence an issue in his Gujarat election campaign to gain political mileage.

''Nobody wants Nandigram,'' Mr Mukherjee reacted when his attention was drawn to Mr Modi's election speeches, wherein he had been repeatedly asking the people of Gujarat whether they want 'Nandigram' or 'Jyotigram', a state-owned scheme aimed at providing 24-hour three phase power supply to all 18,000 villages in the state.

Talking to newsmen, Mr Mukherjee, who arrived here today for undertaking election campaign in north and central Gujarat constituencies, said ''What happened in Nandigram, is unfortunate.

But Nandigram should not be projected in the manner Mr Modi is doing. This is nothing but an election gimmick.'' Recalling the contribution of Nandigram to the Indian freedom struggle, the Minister said ''Nandigram is a place where a parallel government was established way back in 1942. I am not interested in comparing the two.'' He said ''Gujarat government's 'Jyotigram Yojna' is a welcome programme. But, in fact, there is no light in villages as the state faces a shortfall of 4,000 MW.'' Referring to Mr Modi's warning to the people that there would be enhancement in terrorism in Gujarat if Congress party comes to power, the senior Congress leader said ''It is a wrong perception and totally unacceptable. Terrorist activities in the country have significantly come down during the UPA government.'' Mr Mukherjee also alleged that the Modi government had miserably failed in implementing Central schemes like Prime Minister's Gramin Sadak Yojna and National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme despite getting crores of rupees from the Centre.

UNI

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