AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Friday attacked BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's Gujarat model of development, claiming it is "overhyped" as he has seen "crumbling" infrastructure and "poor" healthcare facilities in the BJP-ruled state.
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal meets with members of the fishing community in Bhadeshwar village in Mundra, Gujarat. (Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Photo)
Speaking at an event organised by the India Today group, Kejriwal said Gujarat was performing very poorly in education and healthcare.
“In the last 48 hours, we visited schools and healthcare facilities. There were no teachers and doctors. Health centres are being used as garbage dumps.”
“People can’t get jobs if they don’t pay bribe. The same with getting ration cards or registering FI Rs. There are convicted ministers in the Modi cabinet,” he said.
"Roads are only highways. There are no roads in villages. I have pictures showing bad roads in Modiji's own constituency from where he has been contesting elections for the past 15 years. I went to a school there, filth was scattered all around," Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal said he will decide later whether he would contest the Lok Sabha elections against Narendra Modi.
Responding to a similar poser, he said the choices people have on electing the next prime minister are not "right" but he has no answer as to who should lead the country next. "I wish I had an answer," he said.
Hitting back at Kejriwal, the BJP on Friday dubbed it as an attempt to get "cheap publicity".
Briefing reporters at a press conference in New Delhi, senior BJP leader Venkiah Naidu said AAP was not their rival at the national level.
"We do not take AAP seriously at the national level because we know the ground reality. It has no grass-root level support in the country as such. Our rival is the ruling Congress party," he said.
Earlier on the day, rebuffed by Narendra Modi, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said in Jaipur that he was not a terrorist and deserved to be called by him for a meeting out of courtesy.
"Now I wanted to meet him, but we were stopped five kilometres away from his residence. I am not a terrorist. Being an ex-CM, I deserve a courtesy call from Modi, instead we were stopped. This is not democracy," he told reporters in Jaipur on his unsuccessful attempt to meet the BJP prime ministerial candidate in Gandhinagar this morning.
Read: Kejriwal fails to get appointment with Modi
Trashing claims of development and good governance in Gujarat, Kejriwal said the state "has nothing but rampant corruption" and the voice of farmers was being suppressed.
Kejriwal, who toured Gujarat for the last two days, said a picture totally different from reality was presented about Gujarat during the last one year by Modi and a section of media under a "big conspiracy".
"What I saw in the last three days was totally different from what is being presented by Gujarat. Our teams visited villages and exposed the truth. When locals came to know about the AAP visits, they called us and told us the reality," Kejriwal said at a seminar -- 'Pillars of Democracy- Shaking Us, Waking Us?' -- in Jaipur.
Read: Jobs to farmers: Kejriwal's 17 questions to Narendra Modi
"Corruption is rampant in Gujarat. I was told that rates for transfers and appointments are fixed. For the job of state registrar, the rate is 33 lakh and for transfer of a DSP, Rs 2.75 crore. Without bribe, you cannot have a license or a BPL card and cannot run an industry."
Read: Kejriwal’s Gujarat roadshow, AAP’s Delhi protest violated model code of conduct, says EC
Kejriwal said he wanted to meet Modi as the Gujarat chief minister had not replied to his letter on gas price issue.
"Was I a terrorist that police stopped me that also at a distance of 5km from the residence of Narendra Modi? I along with three persons wanted to meet the CM but we were stopped.
"I agree that he would be preoccupied but this was not the way to avoid a meeting. Even if he had no time for meeting us, he should have shown courtesy to call me, a former chief minister, to his office to convey that he is not able to meet," he said.
He said that a government's top priority should be providing security, followed by ensuring timely delivery of justice and corruption-free governance.
"During my visit to Gujarat, three attacks on us took place. If such incident can happen with a former chief minister then what can we expect for the people of Gujarat?"
On claims about Gujarat's progress, he said, "the condition of schools and hospitals and health centres is the worst. I visited a primary health centre which was like a garbage dumping ground."
Raising the Narmada dam issue, he claimed the height was raised in 2005 but it did not served its purpose.
"Walls of the dam have cracks which itself speaks of corruption. Farmers allege that their lands were grabbed and handed over to industrialists without any compensation," Kejriwal said, while expressing surprise on Modi being presented as an icon of development.
Read: Kejriwal, supporters detained in Gujarat ahead of rally
He alleged that Modi government has failed to provide good governance and security to people.
Kejriwal highlighted that there was a need to clean the politics and the system which cannot be done without active participation of the 'aam admi' (common man).
"There is dirty politics everywhere. There is no lack of resources or money in the country but lack of willpower. All the problems can be solved with a strong will power. Aam Admi does not need big projects, he wants that his genuine problem be resolved," he said.
Read: Top 10 Aam Aadmi Party controversies
The AAP leader flew in from Gujarat and addressed a seminar organised by 'Rajasthan Patrika'. He skipped a scheduled press conference before leaving the venue.
He said there would be fractured mandate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
"There will be fractured mandate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. These elections are going to be like 'samudra manthan' and the new government would be able to function for one or one-and-a-half years," he said responding to a question during the session.
(With inputs from PTI)