Somalia remark: PM has denigrated the nation, says Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad

New Delhi:Congress on Thursday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his comparison of Kerala with Somalia and said it was not only an insult to people of the state but also has invited wrath abroad for dragging a poverty-stricken country into domestic political discourse.

Addressing political rallies in Kollam district, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghaulam Nabi Azad expressed his dismay over the Prime Minister’s “unpalatable” remark and unbecoming of a prime minister.

“By making such comments, the Prime Minister has denigrated the nation and its shining achievements. He has not only insulted the highly erudite and world renowned people of Kerala state but has invited international wrath for dragging in a poverty-hit country, thus creating an embarrassment for the country,” he said.

He said there was all respect for Somalians but comparing people of Kerala which has a literacy rate of 100 per cent with them is “regrettable”.

“Prime Minister and his ilk should immediately offer unconditional apology in unequivocal words to the people of Kerala and desist from such utterances in future,” he said. He said such a comment from the Prime Minister only reflected Modi’s ignorance about the pace of development of Kerala state.

“If Modi had a little knowledge of what Keralites have been contributing in the nation building, he would have not equated Kerala with poverty stricken Somalia,” he said. He also drew a comparison between Kerala and home state of the Prime Minister — Gujarat — and said Kerala has infant mortality rate of just 12 deaths for thousand, the lowest in the country, and Gujarat has the infant mortality rate of 36 much closer to National average of 40.

“Prime Minister should bother to talk about the development of Kerala under UDF Govt rather than making wild utterances. His statement is not only condemnable but it has been an insult to Karalite pride which people of Kerala reject vehemently,” he said.