Joining the Congress’s assembly poll campaign in Madhya Pradesh for the first time on Sunday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh charged the BJP state government with misappropriating central funds.
Addressing an election rally in the predominantly tribal region of Barwani in West MP — 145 km from Indore — Singh said the centre had allocated crores of rupees under various central schemes for the state’s development. “If there hasn’t been enough development, it is the state government’s failure,” he said.
Singh charged that the power cuts in the region, which extended from six to eight hours, had begun only after the BJP came to power. “The government has failed to deliver on its promises of bijli, sadak and pani, (power, roads and water),” he said.
The PM sharply criticised the government for failing to prevent “more than 145 malnutrition deaths in Satna district”, a fact first highlighted by HT. “The time is ripe for change,” he added.
An enthusiastic crowd of nearly one lakh gathered to listen to Singh. The size of the audience surpassed expectations and indicated that the Congress was on a high.
Scores of colourfully dressed tribals decided to extend the shopping excursion for a first-ever look at the pankhe wala jahaz (the PM’s helicopter).
“We at the centre ensured there was no hike in kerosene or fertiliser prices,” said Singh as the crowd cheered.