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Attacking Himachal Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on corruption, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today accused him of being "self-serving" but the Congress leader hit back saying his government is synonymous with development. Addressing a BJP rally, Modi claimed that unlike Singh, party chief ministers in Himachal Pradesh had committed themselves to development issues like providing water and roads. "Whenever BJP came to power in the state, development got impetus. Former Chief minister Shanta Kumar who stressed on water supply scheme was known as 'paniwala mukhya mantri'. "Prem Kumar Dhumal focused on construction of rural road and got the sobriquet of 'sadakwala mukhya mantri' but what is the present chief minister known for... He has been self-seving," the Prime Minister said after dedicating three major hydropower projects in the state which goes to polls late next year. Questioning the utilisation of funds by Congress government, Modi said the 14th Finance Commission had devolved Rs 72,000 crore to the state over five years compared to Rs 21,000 crore under the 13th Finance Commission. "Former chief minister P K Dhumal has asked that we seek an account of the money sent to the state government.
Not just us, but the people will definitely seek an answer," he told reporters.
BJP has accused Singh of being involved in corruption but the Congress leader has rejected the charges and claimed that he was a victim of "political vendetta".
Countering Modi's claim, the Chief Minister said the state has been recognised for its achievements in the field of education and inclusive development in a survey conducted by an independent agency.
"Education is the top priority of the government and we don't mind whatever was said in the rally as people know that Congress is synonyms with development," Singh said and claimed that the BJP rally was a "flop".
"Contrary to the claims of BJP that it was a gathering of more than one lakh people, hardly 15,000 persons attended the rally," he claimed.
Taking a swipe at BJP, Singh alleged that there was an "internal war" in the party over projection of the Chief Minister candidate.
"Shanta Kumar (the former Chief Minister) is not in the race but the outcome of the competition between Union Health Minister JP Nadda and Prem Kumar Dhumal would be quite interesting to watch," he said.
In contrast, he claimed, Congress "is united and has full support of the people at the grassroots".
He claimed that in the panchayat election, 90 per cent of the seats were won by the candidates supported by Congress.
"This was because of the development we did and the people witnessed it," he said.
As far as roads were concerned, just two or three villages were left to be connected, he said.
"During the BJP regime in the state, maximum funding for roads was done by UPA under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna, and NABARD. There were hardly few villages which were provided road connectivity.
"Today, even the difficult and tribal areas were having road connectivity for which strenuous efforts have been made by the state government and the successive Congress regimes," he said.
(REOPENS DEL62) Singh also objected to the PM giving credit to local MP Ram Swaroop Sharma for the cleanliness campaign, saying it was the Congress government which started the total sanitation and cleanliness drive throughout the state. "Regular monitoring was done by the government in this regard. He (Sharma) must have not picked up even a single leaf," said the Chief Minister. It was the initiative and hard work done by the state government at all levels to make Himachal 'Green and Clean', he said.