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Opposition hits back at PM Modi over Kerala-Somalia comparison

May 12, 2016 01:07 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi came under severe criticism from the Opposition parties after he compared the infant mortality rate among the Scheduled Tribe community in the southern state to that in Somalia in a speech delivered on Sunday.

Targeting the ruling United Democratic Front government, the prime minister at an election rally in the poll bound state had on Sunday said, “The unemployment rate in Kerala is at least three-times higher than the national average. Child death ratio (infant mortality rate) among the Scheduled Tribe community in Kerala is worse than Somalia.”

He also talked about the picture published in media showing Dalit boys searching food in garbage.

“Recently, there was a shocking picture published by the media. The picture showed Dalit boys from Peravoor, known as stronghold of the Communist party, searching food in a pile of garbage.”

The statement didn’t go down well with Chief Minister Oomen Chandy who lashed out at Modi for ‘insulting the state’ and asked him to show some “political decency” by withdrawing his remark.

Chandy on Monday lambasted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for comparing Kerala to Somalia, saying he has insulted the state, and asked him to show some "political decency" by withdrawing his remark.

In a hard-hitting letter to Modi, Chandy said the prime minister's comparison of Kerala to Somalia during a recent poll campaign rally while claiming that the state had 'adverse' economic and social parameters has "shocked" the people of the state as it has nothing to do with the ground realities.

He also requested Modi to show some "political decency" by withdrawing the statement as they are "baseless and contrary to ground realities."

Referring to the statement, Chandy said, "This is unbecoming of a prime minister and has created a great deal of agony and protest."

The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Wednesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his Somalia remark regarding Kerala and said the southern state fared way better than the African nation in terms of human development index.

"Somalia's HDI is 0.285 (ranking: 229), Kerala's is 0.712. India's ONLY high HDI state, it'd rank 104 globally. So much for the comparison," CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said on Twitter, without naming the prime minister.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also joined the fray as he targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his purported Somalia remark.

On Modi's remark comparing Kerala with Somalia, Kejriwal tweeted, "PM's statement is an insult to the people of Kerala.”

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