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Sonia defends alliance with RJD
October 15, 2005 15:16 IST
Congress President Sonia Gandhi kicked off her campaign on Saturday for Bihar Assembly polls, defending the electoral tie-up with Rashtriya Janata Dal, saying it was done keeping in mind the larger interest of the state and the nation.
"Those raising an accusing finger at us on the issue of poll alliances need to be told that there is a great difference between them and the Congress. We are aware of our responsibilities and what we have done is in the interest of the state, the society and the nation," Sonia said at an election rally in Gaya.
She said the alliance has been effected with like-minded parties not for political expediency but for the benefit of the people, 'particularly the poor, the weak, women and the youth'.
Referring to the fractured verdict of the electorate in the February assembly elections, she urged for a clear mandate for the Congress-RJD-led Secular Democratic Front.
"Several difficulties arise when the voters give an unclear mandate. It opens the doors to horse trading, which is a bad thing for a state having a great tradition of healthy politics," she said.
The United Progressive Alliance chairperson recalled the sacrifices made by Congress leaders, both before and after independence to keep the country united and asserted nobody would be allowed to bring the nation and the society to harm.
Sonia said she understood the problems of law and order, and shortage of power and water faced by the people of the state but these could not be solved in a day.
Sonia said much needs to be done on the law and order front and that she would urge the SDF, if it came to power, to work for welfare of all sections of the society.
Attacking her detractors in the National Democratic Alliance, she said, "Those who divide the society have no moral right to sermonise us on unity."
Referring to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, she said the UPA government at the Centre had taken care to ensure that its benefits reached the rural poor in 10 Bihar districts, where one member of each family would be given at least 100 days' employment in a year.
In her brief 10-minute speech, she castigated the erstwhile NDA government for discriminating against Bihar with respect to central assistance.
"I feel sad that Bihar, which once taught the nation lessons in development and good governance, is today steeped in backwardness. We will have to together find a way out," she said and expressed the hope that the electorate will give a clear mandate to the secular alliance to usher in a new era of development and prosperity.