Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Monday night offered to tender a public apology if his allegation that Rs 1,880 crore was spent from state exchequer for Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s foreign trips is found to be false, hourse after he made the claim.
"I had said this thing based on the report of a newspaper. If my information is wrong, today I say that I will publicly accept this mistake", Modi said addressing a rally in Junagadh.
Earlier in the day, Modi, addressing a rally at Jesar, targeted the Congress President by claiming that Rs 1880 crore has been spent from the public exchequer for her foreign trips.
Addressing the Jungadh rally, Modi said a response given by the government to an RTI application of a youth of Hisar in Haryana, published in a newspaper on July 12 this year, was the basis for his claim.
However, the youth Ramesh Sharma questioned the figures by Modi and said he had not received any reply to his RTI querry.
Speaking at Jesar, Modi said "to those Congress friends, who are accusing our government of uncontrolled expenditure, I want to ask: is it not true that on the foreign travels of the President of the Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi, in the past three years, Rs 1,880 crore has been spent from the public exchequer".
"This clearly means that more than the total yearly budget of Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagadh and Rajkot Municipal Corporation combined has been spent only on the foreign trips of Sonia Gandhi and on her luxury hotel stays," he added.
"I want to ask the Delhi Sultanate what is the compulsion that they have to allow this uncontrolled spending of poor people of the country," Modi told the rally as part of his month-long pre-assembly election tour of the state.
Sonia Gandhi will be launching Congress' campaign for the state elections on Wednesday by addressing a rally of farmers in Rajkot. This will be her first visit to the poll-bound state.
Ramesh Sharma, the Right to Information (RTI) activist questioned Modi's claim that Rs. 1880 crore were spent from state exchequer for UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi' foreign trips.
"The figures Mr Modi has given today is Rs 1800 crore. The government has not given any response to it. I never got any such information from the RTI I had filed. I have not got any figure of Rs 1800 crore. I don't know where Mr Modi is referring to it", Verma said from Hisar.
"I can say that that I haven't got any figure of Rs 1800 crore because I haven't received any information...", he added.
He claimed he was never contacted by Modi.
Congress dismissed Modi's charge as "falsehood" and said "it is regrettable that the Chief Minister of Gujarat has resorted to blatant lies which now stand exposed after the reavalations of the Hissar based RTI activist to divert the attention of the people of Gujarat from the real issues confronting the state.
"The reality is that the CM of Gujarat has no answer to the charges made by the MP's of Gujarat in a representation to the CVC that Rs 1 lakh crores have been plundered over the past 11 years in 17 different scams", Tewari said.
"It gives ballast to the charge of the former CM Keshubhai Patel that the current CM is a liar with a capital L and that the entire myth of a vibrant Gujarat rests on the foundations of falsehood", he charged.