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Stepping up attack against Narendra Modi on BPL criteria issue, Congress today accused his government of "blaming" migrants for rise in poverty in Gujarat and said it had exposed the real face of BJP which was speaking the "language of Shiv Sena".
The party's remarks came a day after a minister in Modi government said that poor people from other states who come to Gujarat are included in state's BPL list, when queried about rising number of people in below poverty line category.
"Finance Minister of Gujarat government Nitin Patel has justified the state's BPL criteria of people earning below Rs 10.80 a day and put the blame for rise in poverty to migrant workers coming to Gujarat from Uttar Pradesh West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha.
"They are blaming migrant workers for poverty, who actually work for Gujarat's development. This is the language of Shiv Sena and exposes Gujarat government's and BJP's real face. Rather than apologising, they are putting the blame on migrants," party spokesperson Shobha Oza told reporters here.
The issue of migrants has always been a sensitive one in a number of states and it now appears Congress will rake it up in a big way in its poll campaign.
BJP leader Patel had yesterday accused Congress and some other party leaders of levelling "baseless allegations" against the Gujarat government on the issue of identifying BPL families.
Replying to a questions about an increase in the number of poor people in Gujarat, Patel tried to justify it by saying, "If a BPL card holder's family migrates from other parts of the country to earn a living in Gujarat, he is included in the list. Apart from that, population is also increasing, due to which their number is increasing."
Latching on to the comments, Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad was taking potshots at the Gujarat government.
"Modi's govt says, poverty has increased in the last 10 yrs due to arrival of poor ppl from other states. Are poor ppl coming to Gujarat only?," he said on twitter.
At the AICC briefing, Oza accused the Gujarat government of "ridiculing" the poor by identifying poverty line income as below Rs 10.80 a day.
BJP leader Patel had yesterday said that the state has no role to play in setting norms and has to follow the ones set by the Centre.
"The fact is that through a letter on January 12, 2004,