Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh today took a jibe at the Prime Minister Narendra Modi for calling Kerala “God’s own country” after he compared it to “impoverished Somalia” in May. The Prime Minister had unfavourably compared Kerala with the African nation by calling attention to the high child death ratio among Scheduled Tribes.

“The Prime Minister, in his speech at Kozhikode during the BJP’s National Council meet, made a statement (praising) Kerala. But in the part he had compared Kerala with Somalia. Now we are grateful to him for changing his perception and recognising that it is as God’s own country,” Mr Singh said.

Mr Singh made the remarks after a meeting of Goa Pradesh Congress Committee for selecting candidates for the 2017 assembly elections.

On Saturday the Prime Minister, speaking in Kerala, said: “When we think of Kerala, we think of God’s own country, it has an impression of purity and holiness.”
While in May, during an election rally in Kerala, the Prime Minister had said that “the child death ration among Scheduled Tribes in Kerala was scarier than in Somalia.” His comments had invited criticism from opposition parties in Kerala including the Congress.

Mr Singh also said that the Congress remains opposed to the casino industry in Goa.

“We need to look at several issues related to operation of casinos. We don’t want Goa to be known only for casinos and gambling. We don’t want it to become another Macau,” he said