Modi takes on Centre, backs Jayalalithaa
Lashing out at the Centre's proposed 12th Five-Year Plan, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday fully backed Tamil Nadu counterpart J. Jayalalithaa, saying the Congress-led UPA Government must take in the views of respective state governments.
Jayalalithaa walked out in anger from the National Development Council (NDC) meeting being attended by chief ministers of all states earlier today, saying that she had been insulted because she had not been allowed to complete her speech, which was originally timed to last for the scheduled ten minutes.
Modi expressed disappointment with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's speech at the NDC meeting.
"When the entire world is looking at India in the 21st century, then it is very difficult to take things forward if those having the leadership speak in a disappointed tone in the development context. Secondly, they said there are some international reasons responsible for it (decline in growth rate)," said Modi.
"The question that came to my mind then that the Centre would put it on the international reasons, but whom does the state governments hold responsible. If the country is upset because of international reasons, then for which reasons are the states worried. So, this is an issue of concern as to what the Government of India is doing," he added.
Taking on the Prime Minister over his remark that achieving an average of eight percent growth in the 12th five year plan, following less than six percent in the first year, is still an ambitious target, Modi said: ""They talked about nine percent growth when we met the last time. They are now stuck at 7.9 percent. And the country is now holding discussions on ways to move forward by 0. 3 percent. It is a matter of disappointment, because if you talk about 8.2 percent, then you are contemplating to move forward by 0. 3 percent."
Addressing the NDC meeting, the Prime Minister earlier today said the current economic situation is difficult in view of global economic crisis. Dr. Singh called for stepping up investment in infrastructure saying better infrastructure is the best guarantee for rapid economic growth.
Modi further said the Centre and the state governments should not play the blame game over the security and safety of women in the country.
"This is in fact an issue of grave concern. We should all take it very seriously. I don't want to fall in any blame game. The dignity of mothers and sisters is a very emotional issue and we have to take this issue very seriously. It should be above politics," he said, while commenting on the recent incident of brutal gang-rape in the national capital.
The Prime Minister earlier today urged the chief ministers to ensure the safety and security of women in various states.
The gang-rape victim, battling for life for the past 10 days at the Safdarjung Hospital here, was last night flown to Singapore in an air ambulance for specialised treatment in a premier hospital. The girl has been admitted to the Mount Elizabeth hospital in Singapore.