Speaking at a programme organised by news channel Aaj Tak here, Sitharaman, co-incharge of BJP's election campaign in Gujarat, said she was "disappointed" by the opposition's portrayal of the Gujarat model.
She was referring to the social media campaign mocking the Gujarat model of development, featuring the tag-line "Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe", which means development has gone crazy.
"The Gujarat model of development is a tried and tested model, replicated in several other states. And now, Congress, knowingly or unknowingly, is undermining 'vikas'. I am disappointed over the way in which Congress is running this campaign against 'vikas'," she said.
"To counter the BJP, even Congress leaders used to say that significant development took place in their era. And suddenly, Congress leadership is now saying that 'Vikas Pagal ho Gaya Hai' (development has gone crazy)! Vikas is a serious issue and it must be taken seriously," she asserted.
During a debate with Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala on television, the defence minister accused the opposition party of making fun of the development model accepted all over the country.
"Today, there is an undoubted acceptability for Vikas, as people now realise that fruits of development must reach every citizen. Even then, the Congress is making fun of it. I am sorry, but I am disappointed by such an approach," she said.
But Surjewala countered her by claiming that the 'Vikas Gando Thayo Chhe' campaign was being run by the people of Gujarat, and not by the Congress, as "people are angry with the ruling BJP".