Shahid Abbas in Mount Abu
Congress party president Sonia Gandhi on Friday expressed 'serious apprehension' that its rivals in Gujarat would 'stoop to any level in word and deed to spread poison to inflame the society' in light of the ensuing assembly election.
Inaugurating the Congress chief ministers' conclave in the Cama Rajputana Club Resort in Mount Abu, she, however, expressed optimism that the people in general were 'looking at the Congress' to revive economic growth, foster social peace and enhance the stature of the country in the world.
Asserting her party has reached a 'decisive turning point at Jammu and Kashmir', she said, "We have our next challenge in Gujarat. Thereafter, over the course of another twelve months nine more states, five of which are under Congress rule, would go to the polls."
Launching a scathing attack on the 'performance' of the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre she said, "It has just celebrated three years in office. The country has seen through the hollow claims made by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition, which has been a comprehensive failure."
Asserting that the people were looking at the Congress to provide a government that would 'govern and administer', Gandhi alerted her chief ministers, "Elections at the national level are another two years away. Meanwhile, we have to consolidate, retain power in the states where we are in office and oust the BJP and its regional allies in states where we are in the opposition."
She claimed that the people were looking up to the Congress because of its ideology and principled stand and also due to the 'dedication and hard work' of Congressmen and women at all levels. "Let us all strive in our endeavour to fulfil what is expected as the people wants us to take the country from stagnation to growth, from strife to harmony and from darkness to light."
On the Gujarat election, she said, "I'm confident that the people, irrespective of caste, religion and economic status, would come out decisively in favour of the Gujarat of the Mahatma, the Gujarat of Sardar Patel. I am sure Gujarat will rejects the politics of hate and violence and the politics of communal polarisation."
"We are going to the people of Gujarat with one overriding message, the message of religious tolerance and understanding, of social reconciliation and amity. The enterprising people of Gujarat have made the state an economic success story. That economic success can only be sustained if bigotry is defeated," she said.
She said the primary focus of the conclave was the effective implementation of programmes for the weaker sections of society. "We have been once again made painfully aware of the prejudices that still exists against the Dalits, even in relatively more prosperous parts of the country," she said. "The ghastly lynching that took place a few weeks back in Haryana were reprehensible and shameful."
India needs strong Centre, states and panchayats: Sonia
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