Surat: Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Tuesday ridiculed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘vibrant Gujarat’. He said that Modi’s promise to built 50 lakh homes for poor is false and misleading.

Addressing the media in Surat on the last of campaign for the first phase of polling, the minister accused the state government of diverting funds given under Central schemes and not utilising them properly. “Gujarat shining slogan was far from reality,” he said.

Sharma said, “Thirty-three percent people are still living below poverty line in Gujarat. Education is being privatised and commercialised in Gujarat. The literacy rate in the state is just 71 percent whereas in Kerala it is 92 percent and 73 percent in Manipur. 36 percent children in Gujarat drop out of school in fifth class.”

The campaign for the first phase of state assembly poll comes to an end on Tuesday evening. A total of 1,666 candidates are in the fray for 182-member Gujarat Legislative Assembly. The number of contestants has increased by nearly 400 in comparison to the last assembly elections in 2007. While the ruling BJP has fielded candidates on all the 182 Assembly constituencies, the opposition Congress has fielded candidates on 181 Assembly seats in alliance with the NCP.

Gujarat will go to the polls in two phases on December 13 and 17. Counting of votes is slated for December 20.


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