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Coalition politics won't last forever: Sonia

March 13, 2004 16:53 IST

In the midst of cobbling a multiparty alliance against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said coalition politics would not last forever and the polity would revert to major political parties.

"I am not convinced that it (coalition) will last forever," she said at a question-answer session at the India Today conclave in New Delhi.

On whether there was need for coalition politics, Gandhi said it was likely to last for "quite sometime… some years before the polity reversed to major political parties."

On what would be the three important tasks she would take up if she became prime minister, Gandhi said they would be restoration of rule of law for a better social harmony, revival of agriculture by increasing public investment and expanding rural credit and acceleration of production growth to provide employment to youth.
The issues will be incorporated in the Congress manifesto, which she said would be released in three to four days.

On political reforms and the need for public funding of elections, Gandhi said the Congress had set up a committee headed by Manmohan Singh two years ago to go into these matters. "Things are not moving at a speed which we wanted… it is a slow process," she said, adding that she believed political parties should disclose funds they received and they should be subject to audit and accounts.

On the antecedents of candidates jumping into the electoral fray, Gandhi said the Congress supported a Supreme Court directive that candidates declare their records, assets and liabilities.

On whether a candidate who faced criminal charges would be denied tickets, Gandhi said, "If the charges are serious, tickets will not be given" and the Supreme Court directive will be followed.

At the conclave, the Congress president said there was a clash of competing visions between "open-minded secular nationalism and a narrow, parochial nationalism.

"Individuals may put on a veneer of moderation and give us a feeling the clash is exaggerated. Ultimately, ideologies and institutions behind individuals matter more," she said.

She asked, ''Can we ignore that there is a school of thought that rejects the very basis of Indian nationalism as handed down to us by the Father of the Nation?"

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