Union minister Jairam Ramesh waves at a crowd during the road show in Dhanbad on Sunday. He was campaigning for Congress candidate Ajay Dubey. Picture by Gautam Dey
Dhanbad, April 20: Union minister Jairam Ramesh today attributed Jharkhand’s hike in voting percentage to development projects carried out by the UPA, dismissed the NaMo wave as a “tsunami”, and said Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister would be nothing short of a “national calamity”.
Congratulating the electorate for good turnout during the first two rounds of polling in the state, the Union rural development minister said the success of welfare schemes implemented in places, like Chatra, Saranda and Palamau, reinstated people’s faith in the democracy.
The state witnessed 58.3 per cent and 63.45 per cent voting on April 10 and 18, respectively, both higher than the last elections’ figures.
“I congratulate the common people of Jharkhand for the rise in voting percentage. But, development carried out by the central government in rural pockets of Jharkhand is the reason behind voter enthusiasm,” Ramesh, who was in Dhanbad to campaign for Congress candidate Ajay Dubey, said.
Accompanied by state Congress chief Sukhdev Bhagat, and Dubey, Ramesh took part in a road show that travelled around 5km from Godhar to Gandhi Seva Sadan.
“More than 11,000km of rural roads have been constructed and around 3 lakh Indira Awas sanctioned by the rural development ministry across the country, including Jharkhand,” he said, interacting with mediapersons at the Congress’s campaign office after the road show.
Listing the UPA government’s other achievements, the senior Congress leader added new sources of irrigation in different parts of the state had boosted agriculture as well as rural economy.
Asked if the Congress would reap the benefits of the increased voting, Ramesh said: “Humko isse matlab nahin hai (I am not addressing that). I am more happy with the people’s increased turnout.”
Criticising local leaders for lack of development, Ramesh claimed that the UPA government provided huge amount of funds for Jharkhand’s growth, even though the Congress was not in power in the state.
“Of the 13 years of existence, the state was ruled for around nine years by the NDA, which is directly responsible for the state’s poor condition. Moreover, MPs from Jharkhand never raised the issue of development in Parliament,” he alleged.
Taking a dig at sitting MP P.N. Singh of the BJP, the Union minister said: “He is a good friend of mine but I have never seen him raising any question regarding Dhanbad’s development in Parliament.”
Ramesh said the coal belt needed a young and energetic MP like Ajay Dubey. “I am confident of his win,” he said.
On charges levelled against him by Modi about tarnishing the country’s reputation, Ramesh said, “I still feel that more than 60 per cent women of India have no access to toilets.”
Training his guns directly on Modi, the Congress leader said, “Modi ka koi lahar nahi hai, balki jahar hai ya tsunami hai jisse kisi ka labh nahi ho sakta hai (There is no NaMo wave in the country, instead it should be called a tsunami.”
“If he (Modi) leads the next government at the Centre, a national calamity should be declared in the country,” he said.