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|November 23, 1998||
Sonia ridicules BJP charge on price rise
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi
Congress president Sonia Gandhi today ridiculed the Bharatiya Janata Party's claim that the price rise has been caused by the 'faulty' policies of previous Congress governments.
"Naach na jaane, aangan teda (they don't know how to dance, so they blame the floor)," Gandhi told a 20,000-strong gathering at the Ramlila grounds in Shahdara, amidst thunderous applause.
"Inn betuki baaton se kisi ka man nahi behkaya ja sakta (They cannot fool anybody with such illogical talk)," she added.
Gandhi's fifteen-minute speech in Hindi dealt largely with the crisis on the price front. The speech, tailored to Delhi-ites' concerns, was flawless, but for traces of her native Italian accent, and proved that Gandhi had done her homework well.
Pointing out that Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had sacrificed their lives for the country, she challenged the BJP to cite similar precedents from its history.
She said her mother in-law and husband had taught her not to toy with people's lives and aspirations, in sharp contrast to the BJP, which appears to be taking the people for a ride.
She said the state government had given a poor account of itself on every front and Delhi-ites had to virtually beg the powers-that-be for what they ought to have got by right. People are fed up of water and power shortages and are struggling to stay alive, she said. And while several lives were lost to adulteration of edible oil, the BJP government had only punished four people, she added.
Referring to the alarming increase in pollution, she said children's lives are endangered because hospital services under the BJP have deteriorated. She said her reading is that the people of Delhi would vote for that party which looks after their needs, not for those who are taking them for a ride.
On education, she said people had become demoralised because the government was doing nothing to improve standards. Instead, it was busy with inconsequential things like changing school uniforms. This, she said, exposed the BJP's true face.
The BJP's communal politics is polluting the people, she said, and exhorted the gathering to vote Congress so that the present government could be replaced with one which would not only provide stability and fair-mindedness but be an inspiration to the electorate.
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