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Divisive politics is cause of sluggish economy: Sibal

IANS  |  Kolkata 

Ruing the divisive and "lack of a reasonable, objective fair public discourse", union Law and Justice Minister Kapil Sibal Friday questioned the BJP's failure to suggest alternative models of development.

"If I reflect on it, it is the divisive in the state that has led to the state of affairs that we are in today, and we are not just limited to Kolkata, it's the divisive in India that is the reason why we are today in a situation where we lament on our economy," said Sibal during the annual general meeting of the Indian Chamber of Commerce here.

"We have for the last two and half years, heard a lot of criticism about the policies of the UPA. But any mature democracy requires the opposition to let the people of this country know as to what is their alternative model for development of our country," said Sibal.

He lashed out at the opposition for questioning the government's policies without providing solutions.

"If somebody does not agree with the economic model of our country or does not agree with education, healthcare reforms, the opposition must tell us what is their vision. But for the last 10 years, the opposition is only questioning the policies of the government without putting forth any alternative models of development," the minister said.

Referring to the "laggard" coal, power and mining sectors, Sibal slammed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for "selling a dream".

"Will the BJP tell us what is the alternative to this? Will Modi tell us what is the economic model for coal, power? It's easy to sell a dream," said Sibal.

The union law and justice minister pointed out that the opposition has not talked about education in the last 10 years, a sector which he feels is at the "heart of the Indian economy".

"I would like to ask the opposition: Have they ever talked about education in the last 10 years?" he asked.

"Did the person who wants to become the prime minister talk about education reforms, has he talked about gas pricing? Has he talked about what the policies on the power sector should be? And he wants to sell a dream," Sibal said.

Deriding the erstwhile Left Front government in West Bengal, Sibal held them accountable for the financial doldrums the state of West Bengal faces.

"What is the Left model? Was there a Left model in West Bengal? We have seen the consequences of the Left model in this state. Perhaps the state has the poorest social indicators anywhere in the country," Sibal said.

The minister focused on the poor state of health and education in Gujarat, in contrast to its flourishing economy.

"The three largest industrialists are in Gujarat. So the GDP of Gujarat has always been higher. But if you look at social indicators in Gujarat (education, health), they are very poor. Is this the Gujarat model, I would like to know," Sibal said.

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First Published: Fri, July 26 2013. 22:58 IST