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Not bothered about attacks: Sonia on Modi's barbs

October 03, 2012 17:19 IST

Launching Congress' poll campaign in Gujarat, Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday tore into Narendra Modi government's performance and the Bharatiya Janata Party but avoided any reference to his allegations on the expenditure on her foreign travels.

Carefully skipping Chief Minister Modi's claim that Rs1,880 crore has  been spent on her overseas travels, she said she was not not bothered about personal attacks on her.      

"Whenever we have taken steps in the interest of the nation, there have been all kinds of attacks against us. Neither have we bothered earlier, nor will we worry about them in future," Gandhi said address a massive farmers' rally here in the heart of drought-affected Saurashtra region.

Targetting Modi on corruption, the Congress President cited Comptroller and Auditor General reports to buttress the charge of misuse of funds by the Modi government.

"Corruption is like poison, which has spread in our political system, society and administration. Therefore to fight this we were the first to frame Right to Information Act," Gandhi said.

"People against whom we received complaints, they have been punished strictly through the course of law. But, what are the BJP's views on corruption, I want to know," she said.

"On the issue of corruption, the double standard of the party (BJP) in thoughts and deeds is clearly visible," she said.

The Modi government was 'neck deep' in corruption, and despite the CAG report and the evidence, the BJP was not willing to take any action, Gandhi said.

"Why Lokayukta has not been appointed in your state for the last eight years? These people (BJP) are not against corruption, they are only against us (Congress). She asked the BJP as to who brought the Lokpal Bill and attacked the party saying did not let it get cleared. But the BJP keeps on talking about corruption, she added.

"Those who do not allow Parliament to function talk about being against corruption...Are they against the government or the Constitution and democracy? I leave it to you to decide.

"It is deliberately being hidden from you that the United Progressive Alliance has allocated 50 per cent more funds for development of Gujarat as compared to the national Democratic Alliance," Gandhi  said.

Attacking Modi for taking credit for all the developmental schemes in Gujarat, Sonia said, "Some people are in the habit of taking all the credit for development here."

"They can keep on...but the truth is that people of Gujarat...people of Saurashtra...farmers, labourers, artisans, businessmen, industrialists, due to their hard work and dedication they have not only earned fame for themselves in the state, but also globally," she said.

"We have given rights to tribal families on forest land, why are they not getting the rights in Gujarat?" Sonia asked.

"On demanding their rights, dalits are showered with bullets here (Gujarat)...the leaders like Dr Babasahab Ambedkar are not respected," she said, further saying that atrocities were being committed on women.

In a frontal attack on the BJP government in Gujarat, she listed its failures on issues ranging from Narmada water, farmer suicides to atrocities on dalits.

"Who devised the scheme to bring Narmada waters to Gujarat and Saurashtra? Congress devised it...Nehru had devised it," Gandhi said.

"This significant scheme was devised so that our farmer brothers could benefit from it...but it is unfortunate that in the last ten years Narmada water has not reached Saurashtra," Gandhi said.

Even today the farmers here were seeking water, and suicides had taken place in the region, she said.

"The land of Gujarat, especially Saurashtra, which has been associated with Gandhiji right since inception.... I bow down to this land....Let us take a pledge to take this land to ideals shown by Gandhiji," the Congress president said, appealing the electorate to bring a change.

More than 20 farmers committed suicide after crop failure in the wake of deficient rains in the region this year, according to official data.

"We have given rights to tribal families on forest land, why are they not getting the rights in Gujarat?" Gandhi asked.

"On demanding their rights, Dalits are showered with bullets here (Gujarat)...the leaders like Dr Babasahab Ambedkar are not respected," she said, further saying that atrocities were being committed on women.

Earlier, after arriving on Wednesday morning, she visited the Ramakrishna Mission temple. She also visited Gandhi Smriti, where Mahatma Gandhi had spent his childhood.

PTI
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