By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Feb 17: Brushing aside claims by the Congress that Assam has developed by leaps and bounds in the last 15 years, the BJP today questioned the basis of the claim even as it cited statistics that showed the State in poor light in many sectors.
Hitting out at statements of Rahul Gandhi who was on a two-day visit to the State, BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said during the 15 years of Tarun Gogoi government, growth in various sectors had been retarded in the State.
"Industrial growth was minus 4.4. Altogether, 31,200 medium industries closed down during the last 15 years. In the last four years alone, 15,000 such industries have closed down. In 2001, there were 48 public sector enterprises employing some 54,100 people. The number of PSUs has gone down to 40, rendering over 14,000 people jobless," Sarma said.
He said before Independence, Assam was one of the five top States in the country, but today it finds it's me at the bottom in many growth indicators.
"Assam is today the fourth poorest State with 33 per cent living below poverty line. It is the poorest in the Northeast. Around 34 per cent of the population - which is roughly 1 crore people - do not have electricity supply. Around 96 per cent of the agricultural land has no irrigation facilities," he said.
According to Sarma, the number of educated unemployed youth in the State has spiked up from 9 lakh in 2001 to 26 lakh presently. "In fact, we have the second highest number of educated unemployed after Kerala," he claimed.
Sarma also said that the Chief Minister had made "countess number of promises" during the last 15 years. "I want to know how many of them have been actually fulfilled. The Chief Minister should come clear on it," he said.
"Ironically, the Chief Minister, who will appear for the exams, is posing questions to the invigilator (Modi)," Sarma quipped.
The BJP will kick-off a series of programmes from February 21 to woo voters ahead of the assembly elections. On February 21, it will organize a march from Titabor to Borholla in the Chief Minister's home constituency.
From February 23, the saffron party will organize a series of 'Ashirbad Yatras' in the State, "seeking blessings from the people."
Also from March 1, the BJP will come up with a set of ten questions every day for the Chief Minister.