Anand Sharma Sticks to Rs 10k-Cr Poll Campaign Charge

Anand Sharma Sticks to Rs 10k-Cr Poll Campaign Charge

Union minister and senior Congress leader Anand Sharma today stuck to his charge that the BJP was spending Rs 10,000 crore on its election campaign and that the majority of it was being spent on Narendra Modi's "false Gujarat model development projections".

Sharma also countered the BJP prime minister candidate's comments that the government should order a probe if it suspects the BJP of running such an expensive poll campaign, saying Modi knows that an investigation cannot be ordered at this time due to the ongoing Lok Sabha polls and therefore he was making such comments in a "fixed" media interview.

The minister admitted that the Congress was a bit late in exposing the 'hollow' claims of Modi. However, he did not clearly answer questions on why the government was late and why it was not ordering a probe into the campaign expenses.

The minister said that he sticks to his comments and added that 80 per cent of the election campaign amounts spent by all parties put together is equivalent to the campaign size of the BJP and Modi.

Sharma also said that it needs to be probed how Modi's campaign is being funded across the country.

The minister also questioned the timing of the newly released book by Sanjaya Baru and said the Congress President Sonia Gandhi never interfered in government functioning.

Sharma, however, defended the release of a three-year old CD by the Congress in which Uma Bharti termed Modi a 'Vinash Purush' and not 'Vikas Purush'. The comments were made at a time when Bharti was not in the BJP. The minister said it was a political matter and the people must know about the hollowness of the so-called Gujarat model.

Sharma, who was here to accompany the Congress candidate against Modi from Varanasi seat, Ajay Rai, also took potshots at the BJP and its workers for chanting 'Har Har Modi' slogans and said this was an insult to the city of Varanasi where 'Har Har Mahadev' has traditionally been very close to its people.

In an attack on the Gujarat chief minister, Sharma called Modi a "loud-mouth" and a self-centred person who never had a smile on his face and never spoke nice.

Sharma said that Gujarat growth model was actually "hollow" which had been marketed well. He also claimed that MLAs in the Gujarat assembly are never allowed to speak and raise issues, while Congress MLAs have been suspended.

"If he is asked questions, it is taken like an insult," Sharma said, while referring to the working style of Modi. He said this so-called development model involves the tapping of phones of police officers, judges and others.

Sharma also raised questions about Gujarat's economy and countered his claims about his state attracting more investment than the entire country.

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