Three days after Rahul Gandhi's blunt attack against the ordinance on convicted lawmakers, Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Monday declared that the "whole party" stands behind Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"I want to tell them (Bharatiya Janata Party) that the whole party, the whole party stands behind our prime minister," thundered Sonia at a public rally in Mandya, Karnataka in a forceful defence of Manmohan Singh after she slammed the BJP for ridiculing the Congress and the prime minister.
"They (BJP) ridicule our achievements; they make fun of our party and our prime minister," Sonia said. It was under Dr Singh that all achievements of the UPA government had been made, she said in remarks, which are significant as the opposition seized on Rahul's public outburst against the ordinance to say he had undermined Dr Singh, that too when he was on an overseas trip.
Rahul's remarks that the ordinance was a "complete nonsense" and should be "torn up and thrown away" had come under scathing attack from the BJP and other opposition parties, which saw it as a public censure of Dr Singh.
"We are not afraid of the BJP; we are not afraid of any opposition party. We are not afraid of their attack. We shall continue in our path...we shall continue in our sincere efforts," Sonia said. "....BJP divides people, we (the Congress) bound the people together," she said.
Sonia's assertion also came a day after BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in a scathing attack on Rahul accused him of committing the "sin" of insulting the prime minister when he was abroad.
Addressing a huge rally in Delhi on Sunday -- his first in the national capital as BJP's prime ministerial candidate -- Modi also tore into the UPA alliance alleging there were "governments within the government" which was affecting the country's overall growth and development. "The pride of the Prime Minister has been brought down by his own party. The Congress party vice president has committed the sin of disrespecting the prime minister," Modi told the rally, asking the people to decide in the next year's Lok Sabha polls if the country would be run based on the Constitution or the whims of the "prince".
After Rahul's outburst raised a huge political storm, Gandhi had spoken over telephone to the prime minister, away on a US visit. Rahul also wrote to Dr Singh expressing his "greatest admiration" for his leadership in extremely difficult circumstances.
At the Mandya rally, the UPA chairperson said no other government has achieved so much and passed "historic bills" as the ruling alliance had done, asking the BJP why it could not do so when it was in power heading the NDA. "....No other government has lifted millions of people out of poverty", she said.
Thanking the people of Karnataka for a landslide victory of the party in the May assembly elections, Sonia said the state government would deliver on its pre-poll promises.
Noting the "Anna Bhagya" scheme for BPL families to provide rice at Re 1 a kg and interest free loans up to Rs 2 lakh for farmers and announcement about Rs 10,000 crore allocation for irrigation schemes by the Siddaramaiah government, she said, "We do what we say; we keep our promise."
Touting key bills passed under the UPA regime, she said the land acquisition and rehabilitation act makes it mandatory for the consent of farmers before acquisition of their land.
Sonia's rally came as thanksgiving to the electorate of Mandya and Bangalore Rural, where Congress candidates had wrested the seats from JDS in the recent Lok Sabha by-polls.
Image: Congress President Sonia Gandhi with PM Manmohan Singh