The BJP President Amit Shah recently told a TV channel that the development in any BJP-ruled states in the last five years, by any stretch of imagination, was three times better than any Congress ruled states.
He told News 18, “Take a look at five years in any Congress state. Gujarat is three times ahead of Congress states on any aspect of development. We are willing to debate this with Congress.”
Since poverty is a key indicator of just how far a state has developed, we decided to analyse the performance of each state. The most credible information available to this regard is the data released by the Reserve of India.
In its handbook of statistics on Indian states, the RBI also highlighted the number of people living below poverty line in states across India. Contrary to Shah’s claims, nearly 16% of population in Gujarat, 1.02 crore in numbers, suffered from poverty. This despite his party ruling the state for 22 years without any interruption.
Gujarat goes to polls in two stages on 9 and 14 December.
Another state governed by saffron party is Madhya Pradesh, where Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been in power since 2005. His party has governed the state since 2003, when it won a landslide, ending the Congress domination.
In Madhya Pradesh, 3.15 crore population live below poverty line, constituting nearly 32% of the state’s population. Number of people living below poverty line in Maharashtra is over 3 crore, Bihar over 2 crore and Rajasthan 2.09 crore. Except Maharashtra, where the party has come to power fairly recently, the saffron party has been in government intermittently in other two states.
In contrast, Kerala, where BJP has never had the opportunity to form the government, has just 23 lakh plus people living below poverty line. This is the state, the BJP is making desperate efforts to make inroads into. In the past, Prime Minister Narendra Modi even likened the Kerala to an African country, Somalia. In 2016, while campaigning for his party in the assembly polls, Modi had bizarrely concluded that Kerala was worse than Somalia on infant mortality rate.