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Which tradition have I not followed, asks Sonia
October 17, 2003 02:37 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday launched her party's campaign for the coming assembly polls with a highly emotional speech at a rally in Jaipur, during which she took on those who raise the issue of her foreign origin.
"Bahu, maa aur vidhva ke roop mein maine kaunsi maryada ka nirvahan nahi kiya (which tradition have I not followed as a daughter-in-law, mother and widow)?" she asked.
She said those suspecting her patriotism should "first tell me what tradition have I not followed after becoming Indira Gandhi's daughter-in-law".
"Some people are suspecting my loyalty towards this country. Had I wished, I could have got the highest post after my husband's murder. But I have never aspired for anything.
"I have never considered my personal agony and pain above the country's traditions.
"But those who can go to any extent to grab power, those who are neck-deep in corruption and those who trade on martyrs' kafan (a reference to the coffin scandal) cannot understand it," she said.
Gandhi said she agreed to lead the Congress only when she saw that the values of the party were in danger. "I came forward to keep the Congress united.
"I am not worried about the attacks on me over the foreign origin issue because I have full faith in the people on this country," she said.
Only those who walk along the path of truth and humanity and who are ready to die for the country will emerge victorious, Gandhi said and appealed to the people to elect the Congress.
Gandhi said the National Democratic Alliance government could not lay claim to any development programme. It even weakened the programmes and policies inherited from Congress governments.
"Under NDA rule prices are rising, there is unemployment and there is no social security and borders of the country are not secure and safe. The country is weak in fighting terrorism and is standing as a weak nation before the world," she said.
The Congress chief called for probity in politics and said: "These days everything is viewed parochially. When a government does something for the people, it is not doling out any favour. Good governance is the right of the people, which only Congress can provide."
Gandhi said the Ashok Gehlot government had done a great deal for the development of Rajasthan.
"One can easily see a marked difference between what had been done during the previous eight years of BJP rule and the development works done by the Congress government," she said.
Gandhi expressed satisfaction that the state government had managed the drought "efficiently and honestly" despite not getting adequate assistance from the Centre.
All India Congress Committee general secretaries Ambika Soni and Nawal Kishore Sharma were among those present.
More reports from Rajasthan
Read about: Assembly Election 2003