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Home > News > Report

Congress keen on alliances: Sonia Gandhi

Vijay Singh in Mumbai/PTI | December 28, 2003 01:34 IST

After the severe drubbing it received in assembly election to four states, the Congress seems to have realised that it would need some additional help if it is to pose a credible challenge to a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2004 general election.

"The Congress is ready for alliances with likeminded parties not only in Maharashtra, but other states as well," party president Sonia Gandhi announced at a rally in Mumbai on Saturday.

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"The process of discussions on forming alliances with like-minded parties has already begun. The Congress is running coalition governments not only in Maharashtra but other states as well."

She accused the BJP of forming 'opportunistic' coalitions and came down heavily on the BJP-led NDA government for 'crossing all limits of corruption'.

Asking partymen not to lose heart over the BJP's 'propaganda' of blaming the Congress for the country's failures, Gandhi said: "Repeated lies do not make a truth. Ultimately it is the truth that prevails."

Comparing the BJP's five year-rule with the five decades of Congress rule, the AICC president said: "It was Congress, which laid the foundation for a strong and vibrant India."

It was her first public meeting after the severe drubbing the party received in the Hindi heartland. In this backdrop, the party president said: "Victory and loss are part of polls. But we have to march ahead and only those, who do not lose their heart, reach the destination."

The NDA, she alleged, could not see beyond its self-interests. "The government is for the people and not to serve their own interests," she said.

Trying to strike a chord among the women over the issue of inflation, Gandhi said: "I know how difficult it is for you to make both ends meet."

She blasted the NDA government for its 'anti-farmer policies', failing to tackle the scourge of terrorism and growing discord among various communities. The opposition leader blamed the NDA government for not making heard India's voice on global platform and alleged that it has failed on foreign policy.

The Congress chief said she was very attached to Mumbai as it was the birthplace of her late husband Rajiv Gandhi.

The newly elected Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president Gurudas Kamat had organised the rally at Shivaji Park, which saw a good turnout.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde also addressed the rally while among those present were Shivajirao Patil, Vayalar Ravi, state party chief Ranjit Deshmukh and Irshad Beg.

Incidentally, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar has said that the Congress would have to decide before December 31 on continuing with the alliance in Maharashtra to face the challenge of the opposition Shiv Sena-BJP combine.

Pawar has said that he is ready to overlook the issue of Gandhi's foreign origin to help the Congress-NCP led coalition in power and keep communal forces at bay.

More reports from Maharashtra
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