BJP today dismissed Opposition criticism over India slipping 45 positions on the Global Hunger Index list under its rule, and accused Rahul Gandhi and others of twisting facts to suit their “anti-development and negative politics”.
It issued a statement claiming India’s score had improved continuously from 35.6 in 2008 to 31.4 in 2017 (a lower score indicates a better performance).
The BJP said India’s downslide since 2014, when it came to power, owed not to poor performance but to the addition of 44 (actually 43) countries to the list since that year.
India’s position on the index – which takes into account under-nourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting – fell from 55 among 76 countries in 2014 to 80 among 104 in 2015, 97 among 118 in 2016, and 100 among 119 this year.
This means that even accounting for the additional countries – and assuming that all the new nations did better than India – the country has slipped two places (45 minus 43).
Most of the BJP’s anger was directed at Rahul, who had needled the Narendra Modi regime in a tweet yesterday.
“If you are hungry, be patient! So what if you have no bread? Hunger is a hot topic these days of debate in the Delhi durbar,” Rahul had tweeted in Hindi, quoting from a poem by the late Dushyant Kumar.
Union minister Smriti Irani today accused Rahul of maligning the nation in his keenness to run down Modi.
“Not surprising that in his keenness to run down Hon PM, Rahul Gandhi maligns the nation,” she tweeted.
The BJP statement underlined that the 2017 report evaluated countries’ performances between 2012 and 2016, and highlighted that the “Sonia-Manmohan” government was in power during the first two-and-a-half years of this period.
It added that if India’s performance on the list represented a failure, it reflected more on the Congress because the UPA was in power between 2004 and 2014.
“The Congress has been in power since 2004, and so India’s score in the 2017 Global Hunger Index report underlines the failures of the UPA government,” the statement said.
It accused the Congress of spreading lies and said the people, who had defeated the party in 2014 and in several subsequent elections, would continue to do so in future elections too.