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Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP hurls Congress report at Digvijay

Bhopal, April 28: The BJP has tried to splash Congress mud on Congress-ruled Madhya Pradesh by quoting from a report prepared by an institute whose chairperson is Sonia Gandhi.

Law minister Arun Jaitley, who is in charge of the BJP’s Assembly poll campaign in the state, yesterday selectively quoted from the document prepared by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies along with the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The report ranked Madhya Pradesh 25th among the states with a “D” and a “C” in development indicators such as finance, investment, affluence, agriculture and social sectors.

“I am quoting from a document which has been prepared by the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies (a wing of the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation headed by Sonia). Let Digvijay (Singh) challenge its findings,” Jaitley said.

He, however, glossed over the report’s praise for Madhya Pradesh for trying to emerge from the cluster of Bimaru states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Jaitley also ignored the document’s better rankings for Madhya Pradesh and Congress-ruled Rajasthan, ahead of Bihar, Assam, and Chhattisgarh and BJP-or ally-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand.

The document specifically compares Digvijay Singh’s Madhya Pradesh with neighbour Chhattisgarh, also Congress-ruled. “It (Madhya Pradesh) performs its best in law and order categories and also in environment. Female literacy levels are improving at a rate much higher than those of overall literacy,” the report says.

Jaitley, however, insisted that Sonia’s “model state” was worthy of comparison only with smaller states like Kerala and Himachal Pradesh. He evaded questions on the dismal indicators for Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, saying it was pointless to consider states that were doing worse.

The Union minister rejected Digvijay’s challenge of a public debate on development issues. Madhya Pradesh, Jaitley said, wanted a “response” from the government, not political bravado or oral debate.

Alleging that the Digvijay regime “consciously neglected” infrastructure development over the last 10 years, he said the BJP would fight the November polls on “basic issues” such as power, roads, water and communication.

The document was prepared by institute director Bibek Debroy, an economist trained at Trinity College, Cambridge, Delhi School of Economics and Presidency College, Calcutta.

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