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Assam: Sonia woos minorities
K Anurag in Guwahati | March 31, 2006 00:15 IST
Protection of minorities against harassment, solution to the ULFA problem and a developed state were what Congress president Sonia Gandhi promised Assam during her whirlwind election tour on Thursday.
Addressing rallies at Silchar and Nazira, Sonia said while the Congress is not for protecting illegal migrants, the party was committed to protect the religious and linguistic minorities against any harassment in the process of detection and deportation of illegal migrants.
She highlighted the government's initiative to solve the ULFA problem through negotiation and warned that vested interests were out to sabotage the peace initiative.
In reference to the recent formulation of the Foreigners' (Tribunals for Assam) Order 2006 within the Foreigner's Act, she said it was aimed at protecting the minority against harassment.
In Upper Assam business hub at Tinsukia, Sonia said the party was committed to develop Assam to an advanced state in tune with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's dream of a new India that was well equipped to take on the rest of the world in equal terms.
"Congress is the only party that can change Assam into a developed state as it has clear economic and political policy for the state unlike other parties. So select the candidates and the party who can form government and work for the people," Sonia said, asking for a clear mandate for her party in the election.
Regarding the rival Asom Gana Parishad, she said the regional party had failed to implement the promises it made to people.
She said the BJP's claim that it was a patriotic party was not correct, as it was the Congress that had made the biggest contribution to the freedom movement.
"Congress is the only party that represents all sections of the society throughout the country and wants to serve people from all walks of life. Assam had always prospered while the Congress was in power both in the state and the Centre, Sonia said, highlighting the achievements of the incumbent Congress government in the state during the last five years.
She promised that the UPA government was committed to find a lasting solution the flood and erosion problems of the state as per the recommendations of the task force that had been constituted by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
She said the Congress would do more than just the comprehensive package recently announced by the Centre to improve the condition of ailing tea industry in the state and uplift condition of the large force of tea workers in the state.