Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday caught Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on the wrong foot, as he cited the state’s website which says life in UP is “short and uncertain”.
“Life in Uttar Pradesh is short and uncertain... Uttar Pradesh resembles Saharan Africa,” Modi said quoting a paragraph from the state government’s official website -- up.gov.in.
Latching on to the paragraph under the ‘Health’ sub-heading, Modi said it was the state government’s official website that was speaking.
“You may counter me, say I am speaking something wrong. But, here your official website says this,” he said at a public meeting in Maharajganj.
Taking out a page from his pocket, the Prime Minister said “I have collected the relevant pages... you cannot say they are false”.
Modi went on to say that he was sure by the time his speech was over, some heads in the bureaucracy will roll for the blooper, even as the audience enjoyed the gaffe.
The website designed and hosted by the National Informatics Centre, UP state unit in Lucknow, says in its ‘Health’ sub-heading:
“Life in Uttar Pradesh is short and uncertain. Female expects to live less than 55 years and the under-five mortality rate is as high as 141 per 1,000. In these respects Uttar Pradesh resembles Saharan Africa...”
It goes on to admit “Among all major Indian states, Uttar Pradesh has the highest under-five mortality rate, the second highest crude death rate and the third lowest life expectancy figure”.
“According to the recent National Family Health survey, Uttar Pradesh comes second to Bihar among the major Indian states in terms of the incidence of under nutrition among children below the age of five. This corroborate as well as explain to a large extent the lower possibility of child survival in Uttar Pradesh,” the website says.