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Modi's development promises hollow, false: Sonia

Last updated on: December 07, 2012 17:59 IST

Accusing the Narendra Modi government in Gujarat of making tall development claims, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday said that progress was nowhere to be seen in the state as the ruling party's promises were "hollow and false".

Sonia, who addressed a rally in the tribal dominated area of Mandva in Surat district in south Gujarat, said, "They (Modi and BJP) have no interest in poor and common people. Its only interest is development of its own and a select few people."

"The development, which was promised in a big way, is nowhere to be seen in this tribal land, because what they promised were hollow and false," Sonia said while addressing a huge rally.

"This is the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, who used to preach what they practiced. Now there are people who give big advice but do not follow them," she said, taking on Modi without naming him.

Alleging the prevalence of large-scale corruption in Gujarat, Sonia said that the Centre has provided a lot of funds to the state, adding, "We do not know where they have gone".

"We (Congress) have had a good relationship with the people of this area. Due to ongoing vested political interests, they (BJP) have constantly tried to weaken this relationship, but you all have negated their moves," Gandhi said, referring to the support of tribal communities to the Congress.

Attempts were made by the Modi government to make inroads into the traditional vote banks of Congress by announcing various programmes for the tribals and earmarking Rs 1,50,00 crore in the 12th five-year plan to carry out various projects in tribal area.

Sonia sought to know where the promised sum in the various schemes have disappeared as nothing that was promised under them seemed to have materialised.

"The UPA government has been allocating thousands of crores of rupees to various states, including Gujarat, without any bias. But nobody knows how this money is spent (in Gujarat)," she said.

"Why is poverty still looming in the tribal population of the state? Why is there no change in the lives, position and financial condition of tribals," Gandhi wondered.

There are nearly 30 tribal dominated constituencies in the eastern parts of the state, which were on the radar of the Congress president, who pitched hard for the traditional votes.

"There is no water in hill villages of tribal areas. The BJP had shown you the dream of building lakes and dams, where are they? Where is employment for the tribal people," she asked.

The All India Congress Committee president also said that her party was responsible for the development of South Gujarat.

"The roads which you are seeing here are made under the prime minister's rural road scheme," she said.

Sonia said that Congress had stood with the people of Gujarat through trying times like drought, earthquake and cyclones.

She alleged that because of the policies of the BJP government, the hardships of the common man have increased.

"If the government attended to your problems, you would not have faced so many of them," she said.

The Congress chief said the UPA government had waived off loans to debt-ridden farmers but their condition in Gujarat had not changed because of the "anti-people" policies pursued by the BJP government.

"Our government is the government of the farmers. We have waived off loans for them," she said.

Gujarat will vote in the first phase of state polls on December 13.

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