Congress today sought to puncture BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi's development claims saying his Gujarat model was not backed by facts and he was "neither zero nor hero".
Releasing a 32-page document carrying statistics about Gujarat's performance on various paradigms, Union minister Kapil Sibal said Narendra Modi's state is "most indebted state of India".
"He (Narendra Modi) is neither zero, nor hero. His place lies somewhere in between. He is trying to put down everyone else, the rest of India and give credit only to himself for everything as if he is messiah," he told reporters.
"The fact is that there are many states including Delhi, which are way head Gujarat in many parameters. He changes history, he changes statistics. The truth about Gujarat is that as there is good and bad, hits and misses about it like it is about every state," he said.
As campaign for Delhi assembly polls enters its last leg, Sibal, who is an MP from Chandni Chowk parliamentary seat here, projected the Sheila Dikshit-ruled state way ahead of Narendra Modi's Gujarat.
"The average growth rate of Delhi is 11.39 per cent while that of Gujarat is 10.13 per cent. In FDI, Delhi stood at over USD 30 billion after Congress-NCP ruled Maharashtra, where it was above USD 50 billion. Gujarat had FDI of less than USD 10 million," he claimed.
Sibal said that while fiscal deficit in Delhi was Rs 26 billion in 2012-13, that of Gujarat was Rs 178.3 billion as per the RBI data.
"Narendra Modi keeps saying about Gujarat as if there is no leader in India, who can equal him. He talks as if he has made Gujarat a heaven. One does have a right to desire for prime ministership but not to claim it on the basis of false data. The reality is something else.
Gujarat was developed much before Narendra Modi was even in picture. Most of the big projects in Gujarat were conceived and developed much before Modi's arrival," he said.
Recalling that during his previous conference, he had dared Narendra Modi for a debate on development issue, Sibal said that the Gujarat chief minister has so far not accepted his invite.
Replying to a question why Narendra Modi had won thrice in Gujarat if the scene is so pessimistic there, Sibal that elections can be won through various means. "You can win elections through intimidation as well. Winning elections is a different thing."
He at the same time said that Congress has nothing to fear from Narendra Modi as it will benefit more when he is at the helm of affairs in the BJP.
He said that there are many states, which Narendra Modi's Gujarat has surpassed but there are also many states, which are way ahead of that state.
Sibal said that despite Narendra Modi's claim of 100 per cent electrification of Gujarat, the state ranks 16th by percentage of homes with electricity.
"Over 11 lakh households do not have electricity in a state that boasts of a power generation capacity of over 14,000 MW and claims to have 2000 MW of surplus power. A majority of 63 lakh homes in Gujarat use age-old source of fuel like cow-dung cake and firewood for cooking," he said.
According to Sibal, even in Gujarat, Narendra Modi has not been able to surpass the 18.02 per cent growth rate achieved in 1994-95, when Congress leader Chabildas Mehta was chief minister.
"Did you come out with any major project, even one between 2001 and 2013," he asked Narendra Modi accusing him of "misleading" the nation about Gujarat development.
Poking BJP over Narendra Modi's "self-projection", the Union minister said that while the rest of the BJP keeps talking about Modi, he himself does not talk about any other leader of his party.
"Narendra Modi never mentioned L K Advani or Sushma Swaraj. He has nothing to do with the BJP leadership. All the time he is projecting himself. They should be worried," he said.
Latching on to figures, Sibal said the manufacturing sector registered negative growth between 2004 and 2009 and Narendra Modi "neglected" social sector during his tenure.
"Employment is the biggest casualty... Recently he said that Gujarat spent 65 of the budget on development schemes. In reality it was 38 percent. Gujarat has the highest ever per capita debt of Rs 23,163. Gujarat also has to pay a mind boggling interest of Rs 34.5 crore every day," the minister said.
He said that while Narendra Modi talks about investment summits, he does not reveal the projects that were implemented. "In 2003, only 27 per cent projects were implemented, where as in 2011 only 13 per cent projects were implemented."
Quoting a study by IDC, Chandigarh, Sibal said that employment is the "biggest casualty" of the so-called successful manufacturing growth in the state.
He also referred to percentage of women in the workforce claiming that it stood at mere five per hundred in Gujarat, where as the Indian average was 20 per hundred.
Contrasting the statewise expenditure in social sector between Gujarat and Congress-ruled states, he said that while it was 43.7, 42.2 and 41.3 per cent in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Haryana respectively, it was 38.6 per cent in Gujarat.
"Contrary to Narendra Modi's claim of development expenses being 65 per cent of the budget in 2011-12, social sector expenditure accounted for a much lower 38.6 per cent," he said.