Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party takes aim at Narendra Modi's economic model

Mar 07 2014, 20:10 IST
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Narendra Modi faces pressure from a small anti-graft party. Reuters Narendra Modi faces pressure from a small anti-graft party. Reuters
SummaryNarendra Modi faces pressure from a small anti-graft party...

Indian opposition politician Narendra Modi, who leads opinion polls ahead of next month's general election, faces pressure from a small anti-graft party attacking his economic model on his home turf, the thriving state of Gujarat.

The pro-business leader has presided over rapid economic growth during more than 12 years as the chief minister of the coastal state, and slashed red tape to attract companies such as Ford, Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors.

Now, Narendra Modi promises to replicate his state's development model nationwide if he becomes prime minister.

But Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, on Friday said small businesses in the state were being shuttered, public schools and health services were in poor shape and claims of regular supplies of electricity were not true.

"What is your development model?" Arvind Kejriwal asked as he tore into the heart of Narendra Modi's campaign, saying that 400,000 of the state's farmers who had applied for electricity connections years ago had yet to receive them.

"If you haven't even given a connection, how will you give them electricity?"

India's western state of Gujarat has been hailed for rapid measures to develop infrastructure and provide stable power supply, but critics often say it lags behind other states in social development.

"What we've seen in the last two days is quite shocking," Arvind Kejriwal told reporters at a meeting on the edge of the state's commercial capital of Ahmedabad.

Arvind Kejriwal, who was denied an audience with Narendra Modi, questioned the Gujarat chief minister's claims on farm growth, job creation and clean governance, and suggested he was too close to big business.

He was on a tour to study conditions in Gujarat, as part of his party's first national campaign since bursting onto the political scene with a stunning victory in Delhi's local election in December.

Leaders of Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party condemned Arvind Kejriwal's remarks.

"The Aam Aadmi Party's politics now includes the right to gate crash, the right to a violent protest and the right to take liberties with the truth," the BJP's Arun Jaitley said on Twitter.

Arvind Kejriwal was chief minister of the Indian capital for 49 chaotic days before resigning, saying the country's entrenched political parties were not letting him govern.

The former tax collector, who has described himself as an anarchist, seems more comfortable in campaign mode.

Street fighting between supporters of Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi broke out in three states on Wednesday

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