Narendra Modi is a giant balloon bound to burst soon, Jairam Ramesh says Congress has been gearing to face Narendra Modi as its principal challenger. However, the party is divided over whether to acknowledge him upfront as this allows the Gujarat CM to occupy a centrestage. Congress strategist and rural development minister Jairam Ramesh tells Subodh Ghilidiyal how Congress is preparing to counter BJP and Modi in 2014 elections. How do you think the Congress is placed for 2014 elections? We are optimistic. We have a good performance track record. We face challenges but we are confident we will overcome them. It is now becoming increasingly clear that we are facing RSS and not BJP, and RSS should give up the pretence of being a cultural organization and reveal its true political colours. We are conscious that a very deliberate attempt is being made to polarize the 2014 elections under Narendra Modi. Governance is a mukhota, the real underlying strategy seems to be of polarization, and our differences with Modi are stark. He represents an ideology, a philosophy of governance that is at variance with what Congress stands for. But it is said Congress would prefer polarization to divert focus from UPA's governance? It is clear that Modi works for polarization. His true colours have been revealed. I would like the debate to be on governance, issues of empowerment and inclusiveness. That is what the country needs. But his policy is of polarization. He wants to polarize and create an atmosphere of fear: the language he uses, the underlying strategy in UP, the language used by his Goebels ( Amit Shah) in UP is very clear. It will be a stark choice. But Modi has presented himself as a development person. If Modi wants governance as an issue, we will debate on it. If he wants polariazation, we will debate on secularism. His governance record is not as it is made out to be. Anybody will tell you whether it was in 1970, 1980, 1990 or 2000, much before the advent of Modi, Gujarat has been among the top 2-3 states of the country in terms of economic development. Look at the data of these early years in terms of industrialisation, entrepreneurship. So the model Modi talks about is figment of his own fevered imagination. The development is because of the nature of Gujarati society. In 1991, I did a paper that I presented before vice-president KR Narayanan, where I compared Gujarat model and Kerala model. I said Kerala growth record is not as spectacular as as Gujarat but its social welfare achievements are far better than Gujarat, that there are pockets of Gujarat where human development indicators are very poor. It is a fact. So, the model that Modi is flaunting is no model. Gujarat has benefited from overall growth India has witnessed. Even before Modi came on the scene, Gujarat was on the top of the scene. So, there should be a debate on development. Gujarat has a poor record on human development indicators. Narendra Modi is a giant balloon bound to burst soon, Jairam Ramesh says - The Economic Times ********************************************** 1. Who is polarising Indian society? 2. Ramesh's claim that the UPA has a good performance record. How far is that true? 3. Ramesh claims that it is not the BJP that the Congress is contesting and instead it is the RSS. Is that correct or is it to scare people off? 4. Would the Congress prefer polarization to divert focus from UPA's governance? 5. How far is Ramesh right that it was in 1970, 1980, 1990 or 2000, much before the advent of Modi, Gujarat has been among the top 2-3 states of the country in terms of economic development.?