Claiming that the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre had played a major role in the development of Himachal Pradesh during the past eight years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said the BJP government in the state was falsely projecting most of the central schemes as its own by renaming them to get political mileage.
The Prime Minister who was in Una to address a political rally of the Congress ahead of the November 4 assembly elections, said the much-publicised ambulance service was actually a union government's scheme, which the state government was running in the name of Atal Swasthya Sewa Yojana.
"The Centre has provided 152 ambulances to Himachal Pradesh by giving full financial assistance. Likewise, the state government was also running the Centre's health care schemes by other names," he added.
"Ye to ese hua ki kaam kisi aur ka aur naam kisi aur ka (It is like someone else taking credit for someone else's work)," he said.
The Prime Minister charged that the state government has miserably failed to bring the actual benefit of the Centre's assistance to common man of this tiny hill state. "From an important scheme like Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), in past six years, the state government has utilised only 56% of the total funding by the Centre. From the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the state used only Rs 8 crore against the provision of Rs 142 crore," claimed Manmohan Singh.
He added that the Prem Kumar Dhumal government had also failed to take actual benefit of the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) despite heavy economic assistance by the Centre. "The state has gone backwards in primary education sector in past few years. Since 2007-08, enrolment in primary and upper primary schools has gone down heavily. The Centre has given financial sanction for the recruitment of 5,800 teachers but the state recruited less than 4,100," said Manmohan Singh, while alleging that the UPA government wanted to develop the state to the maximum but the BJP government "scuttled" such an effort.
The PM said whatever development Himachal has witnessed in the past eight years was only because of the Centre's assistance.
"In the past three years, the UPA increased financial assistance to the state by 30% while Himachal's special economic contribution had been increased to Rs 900 crore from Rs 200 crore in the past three years. Still a lot needs to be done. If the Congress government comes to power in the state, it will have better co-ordination with UPA at the Centre and the state would be given its due," said the Prime Minister.
In his more than 18-minute long speech, the Prime Minister did not utter a word on the issue of corruption and restrained himself to the issues related to Himachal.
Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh said the Dhumal government had ignored development in the state and the Congress was set to form the new government in Himachal.
Union minister Anand Sharma and Congress in-charge for Himachal Pradesh affairs Chaudhary Birender Singh also spoke in the rally. The gathering was average, as the Congress had played it safe by organising rally on a small section of the police ground in Jhalera near Una.