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|September 30, 1999||
Sonia hopeful of a majority for Congress
Congress president Sonia Gandhi today expressed confidence that her party would win a majority in the thirteenth Lok Sabha.
Asked whether the Congress would get a majority, she said: "Definitely, I hope so."
Asked whether the Bharatiya Janata Party would be able to form the next government, she said: "I am not an astrologer. Let us wait for the results, which will be known in the next few days."
Gandhi addressed five election meetings in the Amethi and Sultanpur constituencies today. This was her first visit to these constituencies after filing her nomination for the Amethi seat.
She declined to say whether the Congress would go in for a coalition set-up if it did not get a majority. "Let us wait for the results before thinking about future arrangements," she said.
Asked about the possibility of some of those who had left the party returning, Gandhi said the question should be addressed to them.
About Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's reference to the Bofors scandal, she said: "Let them raise it again and again. It is going on for the last 12 years."
She said the Congress campaign has been doing very well and there is an "overwhelming response" from the people.
Earlier, addressing election meetings at Sultanpur, Amethi, Salon, Jhayas and Jagdishpur, she said that if voted to power, the Congress would fulfil all its promises unlike the BJP-led coalition government, which had backed out of its assurances.
The Congress alone could provide a stable and effective government that could fulfil the aspirations of the people, she said.
Gandhi said no political party that was interested only in one caste or creed could provide good governance. Only the Congress, which could keep all communities and sections of society together, could do so.
The 13-month-old BJP-led coalition had failed on all fronts and if its new version, the National Democratic Alliance, is voted to power it will drag the government in 24 directions, she said.
Gandhi said Uttar Pradesh appeared to be without a government at present as the law-and-order situation is terrible. The youth of the state is totally disappointed and the poor are helpless, she said.
The Congress president was accompanied by her son Rahul Gandhi at the meetings, which attracted impressive crowds despite rains in some places.
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Narain Dutt Tiwari, former state governor Motilal Vora, Congress general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde and state Congress politician Pramod Tiwari were among those present at the different election meetings.
Gandhi will address several more meetings tomorrow, including one at Lucknow, marking the end of the campaign for the final phase of the general election on October 3.
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