Bhopal: Press Council of India Chairman Markendya Katju on Sunday hit out at Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi describing as "phoney" his claims of development in the state and saying its malnutrition rate was worse than Somalia.
Katju said Modi had made tall claims about development in Gujarat but pointed out that the living standards of the common people was still "abysmal". Citing figures, he said that Gujarat's malnutrition rate was higher than that of poor countries like Somalia in Africa.
Katju said the development claim in Gujarat was "phoney", since it had not helped the common man in any way. The time may come when the people of the state would themselves realise that the development about which Modi boasts a lot was of no use to them, he said.
He also touched upon the the 2002 post-Godhra riots. "There is no way in which the blot on Modi's name due to the 2002 Gujarat communal riots can be wiped out," Katju said.
Asked what he thought of Modi's third successive win in assembly elections, he said that everyone knows how polls are fought and won these days in the country. He said that in sharp contrast, there was no blot on another BJP-ruled state Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's name.
Katju said that he met Chouhan two days ago and invited him to attend an 'mushaira' (Urdu poetry meet) and the chief minister promised that he would come for only 15 minutes. Katju said that when Chouhan came, he extended his stay to 50 minutes and appreciated Urdu poetry.
"I found Chouhan to be a polite and humble person," Katju said. He said Chouhan also promised to do all that he can for the development of Urdu in Madhya Pradesh.