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Sonia slams regional parties of Meghalaya

G Vinayak in Shillong | February 14, 2003 03:02 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday blamed the regional parties of Meghalaya for failing to provide stability and allowing militancy to flourish in the state.

Addressing an election rally in Shillong, she said, "As a result [of instability] there is no peace, progress or development."

The Congress president also attended a rally in Resubelpara in the Garo Hills.

However, in both the places she did not say anything against the Nationalist Congress Party, which has vowed to bury the Congress in Meghalaya.

Former chief minister S C Marak, who is contesting the Resubelpara seat, is pitted against an NCP candidate. Indeed, Gandhi surprised everyone by not attacking NCP leader P A Sangma, her bete noir who hails from the Garo Hills.

"People appreciated it very much that she did not sling mud around and stuck to the point about the politics of Meghalaya," said a Congress leader.

The Congress chief also panned the Bharatiya Janata Party, whose presence is at best marginal in the three north-eastern states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura.

In Shillong, Gandhi blamed the BJP for destroying the secular values of the country.

"Congress has never betrayed the faith and trust of the people," she said.

Dressed in a red silk dhara, a Khasi dress, the Congress president arrived from the Garo Hills three hours behind schedule. But the crowd waited patiently to catch a glimpse of the bahu of the Gandhi family.

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