Himachal Ministers slam Modi over his remarks

Shimla, Oct 22 (IANS) The Congress government in Himachal Pradesh on Saturday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his unwarranted remarks against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh at a public rally in the state earlier this week.

“It’s unfortunate that the person holding highest post made such remarks from public platform against a Chief Minister, who had been in public life for over five decades,” cabinet Ministers Mukesh Agnihotri and Anil Sharma said in a joint statement.

They said the Chief Minister not only received Modi on his arrival in Mandi town on October 18 but also remained with him throughout the inauguration ceremony of hydropower projects. After the rally he even gave the Prime Minister a warm send-off.

“Before the rally, the Chief Minister himself visited the rally site and ensured best possible arrangements for welcome of the Prime Minister. But unfortunately, the BJP turned this rally into a political function and politicised the entire event,” the ministers said.

They said there was nothing new in the reference of Rs 72,000 crore grant made by the Prime Minister as it was legitimate share of the state and the funds were awarded under the 14th Finance Commission for a period of five years, till 2019.

“It’s strange that instead of making some announcement, the Prime Minister counted the funds released by the centre to the state, which are a routine affair in a democratic set up and each state gets its legitimate share from the centre for development,” the ministers said.

Taking a dig at Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh at the rally, Modi said “Do I need to tell you about his identity” — alluding to the corruption charges against him.

Hailing former Bharatiya Janata Party Chief Ministers of the state, Modi said: “Shanta Kumar-ji is remembered as ‘Paani Wale CM’ and Dhumal-ji (Prem Kumar Dhumal) as ‘Grameen Sadak Wale CM’.”

“And we all know about this Chief Minister. What is the identity of the present Chief Minister? Do I have to say this here,” said Modi.