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Stand together against regionalism: Sonia
June 19, 2008 20:19 IST
Last Updated: June 19, 2008 20:57 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images] on Thursday virtually launched the party's poll campaign, highlighting the achievements of the United Progressive Alliance government and asking Congressmen to fight regionalism.
"Regionalism is being encouraged here (in Maharashtra) and we have to fight these forces, which are dividing society for their vested interests," she said, without naming either the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena or the Shiv Sena.
Sonia's remarks came minutes after Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, assured, 'south and north Indians full protection'.
One who has come to Mumbai is a Mumbaikar, Deshmukh said.
Sonia was speaking at a state-level convention of Congress functionaries and people's representatives, organised by Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee in suburban Goregaon. Her speech was preceded by noisy scenes by a group of slogan shouting activists.
Later MPCC chief Prabha Rau said the protesters did not belong to the Congress.
The Congress chief asked partymen to work together. History is witness that whenever Congressmen have been together, they have faced all challenges, she said.
Whenever Congress has been weaker, the life of the common man has become weaker, Sonia said. If Congress succeeds, then everyone has a share in the success, she added.
The four-year-old UPA government has taken several decisions for the common man, she said, asking party workers to propagate these to the people.
"I can state that no government since Independence has taken so many important steps for the masses," she added.The UPA chairperson listed setting up of the minorities welfare ministry among the important decisions of the Manmohan Singh [Images] government.
The mid-day meal scheme in schools is the worlds largest such programme, she added.
Referring to the farmers' loan waiver decision announced by the UPA government, Sonia said, "It is one thing to call the farmer annadata, but another to do something concrete for him."
The UPA government has fulfilled almost all promises and worked as per the Common Minimum Programme, Sonia said.
The Congress president lauded the role of Maharashtra on national stage. "This state has always adopted a national outlook and we are proud of its achievements on the industrial development front," she said.
Union Ministers Shivraj Patil, Sushilkumar Shinde, Murli Deora, Vilas Muttemwar and state Congress leaders were present at the function.