Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday avoided Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's attack on her and the Centre demanding details of expenses on her foreign travels and said she was not bothered about personal attacks on her.
"Whenever we have taken steps in the interest of the nation, there have been all kinds of attacks against us...Neither have we bothered earlier, nor will we worry about them in future," she said launching the party's poll campaign in Gujarat at a farmers' convention here.
Making a scathing attack on the BJP and the Gujarat Chief Minister, Gandhi said there was a "huge difference" between their preachings and practice on the issue of corruption. Alleging that the BJP-ruled states were "neck-deep" in corruption, she said the party was not ready to act despite evidence and CAG reports against them.
"There is a difference between their preachings and practice...They are not ready to act against their states on the issue of corruption even though there is evidence and CAG reports against them," she said.
Gandhi also lashed out at the BJP for not allowing the passing of the Lokpal Bill in Rajya Sabha and attacked the opposition party for not allowing Parliament to function. She also noted that Gujarat government had not appointed a Lokpal for the last eight years.
"They are not against corruption, they are against us...Those who do not allow Parliament to function talk about being against corruption...Are they against the Government or the Constitution and the democracy of the country? I leave it for you to decide as you are sensible to understand this," she said.
She used the farmers rally to make a strong pitch for FDI in retail, saying the move would help farmers get remunerative prices for their produce by selling it directly in cities.
She wondered as to why there was so much hue and cry over allowing FDI in retail when it is not mandatory for all states to implement. Without directly naming Modi, Gandhi questioned why the people of the country were being misled on the FDI in retail decision.
She also alleged that atrocities on women were being committed in Gujarat and that Dalits seeking their rights were being fired upon.
Gandhi also hit out at the Modi government for failing to provide waters of the Narmada river for farmers of Saurashtra, who continue to seek water and suffer due to drought. She claimed that the Central government had been coming to the aid of Gujarat and its farmers and said the claims of farmers suffering due to drought be sent to the Centre immediately for provision of relief to them.
She said the UPA government was doing well in all spheres, be it education, health or rural employment, but this fact was being deliberately hidden from the people. "The UPA government in the Centre has provided 50 per cent more funds for Gujarat's development than the BJP's NDA government," she claimed, adding that what Congress has done for Gujarat on one else has done so far.
She said all the big industries that came up in Gujarat did so during Congress rule. Attacking the opposition for not recognising the good done by the UPA, Gandhi said, "We are pained that our opponents cannot see anything right and good happening, but only misery and darkness."
Admitting that there were challenges ahead for the nation amidst the economic crisis gripping the world, the Congress President explained the reasons for the increase in prices of petrol and diesel, saying 80 per cent of India's oil needs were met through imports.
She questioned why the BJP-ruled states had not come to the aid of the common man the way the UPA has done by asking the Congress-ruled states to provide three more cylinders. "The way UPA government is doing its responsibility to provide relief to the common man, is it not the responsibility of the state government to do its duty in providing relief.
Why not provide gas at subsidised rate. Gas is maximum in Gujarat. Our governments will give three more cylinders. Why this work has not been done in Gujarat?," she said. In a bid to lure the farmers ahead of elections, Gandhi said Congress pledges itself to the welfare of farmers,
labourers, women, youth, tribals and all other sections and pledged to help make a "new Gujarat".
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