Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh hit out at Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for his emphasis on inclusive politics during a speech to his NRI supporters in the USA and asked whether a leopard can change its spots.
He was reacting to Modi’s claim that the growth rate was 8.4% when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in power but came down to 4.8% during Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's rule.
Singh said on the microblogging site Twitter, "Good to hear Modi talking about inclusive politics. But can a leopard change its spots? Feku Modi at his best. Giving fake figures of growth during NDA regime.”
Modi is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections and he addressed his NRI supporters via video conferencing on Saturday.
A known detractor of Modi, Singh went on to challenge him to debate with any Congress leader on the issues of governance and development. “Would Modi have courage to debate with one of us on issues of governance, development and other national issues?" Singh asked.
Singh also praised his own party, “Congress empowers you, Modi empowers himself. Modi wants Congress-mukt Bharat (India free of Congress) and we want bhook-mukt Bharat (India free of hunger). He backs the privileged, the Congress backs the underprivileged. Choice is yours.”
Rebutting Modi’s claim that the UPA government has lost people’s faith, Singh said the UPA has fulfilled every promise made and empowered people by giving right to information, right to education, food security and right to work.
He was apparently referring to UPA's schemes like RTI, RTE, Food Security Bill, MNREGA and other similar right-based measures taken up during the two successive UPA governments.
The Congress leader was also acerbic in his criticism of the Gujarat CM over his praise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime. He said Modi may say that Atalji’s was a golden era but Parliament was attacked by terrorists at that time and terrorists were released while referring to IC814 hijacking.
Praising the six-year tenure of NDA under the leadership of Vajpayee, Modi had said, "Under Vajpayee government it looked like that the 21st century would be the century of India. But with his departure, the downfall started".