Hitting the campaign trail in Assam for the first time this election, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday lambasted the Bharatiya Janata Party as a “party that divides the people and thinks through only one person.”
The prime minister called upon the people to vote for the Congress “which has been working sincerely for welfare, development, justice, equality and dignity for all since the country’s freedom struggle.”
Campaigning for two veteran Congress nominees, Bijoy Krishna Handique (Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency) and Paban Singh Ghatowar (Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency) at Moran in Sivasagar district of eastern Assam, Dr Singh said, “I have come here with an appeal from Soniaji and Rahulji. Vote for the Congress once again to give us another opportunity to work for all-round and speedy development of the country.”
While focusing on the “achievement of development and welfare schemes of the United Progressive Alliance government, including the Food Security Act, National Rural Health Mission, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, RTI schemes,” the PM dismissed the opposition’s charges of corruption. He instead blamed the opposition for repeatedly ‘stonewalling’ the government’s attempts to enact anti-corruption legislations in the Parliament.
“The BJP brings allegation of corruption against us, but it is they who have repeatedly failed our attempts to bring about anti-corruption legislations in Parliament. This reflects what the BJP really is,” Dr Singh. He said the Right to Information Act enacted during the UPA regime has empowered the people to know about the implementation of government schemes and in bringing about transparency in the system.
“The BJP has no philosophy and no principles. It is a party which divides people. How can a party that divides take the country forward? In the Congress it is team work and we take people along in serving the country. If you elect Congress again, we will work with renewed vigour to ensure all encompassing and speedier development,” Dr Singh said.
In an oblique reference to the ‘Modi wave’ the prime minister said,” In the BJP only one person thinks which is unbecoming in the Congress.”
Dr Singh while highlighting the UPA government’s ‘achievements’ in sectors like education and professional education, health, employment generation, agriculture and poverty alleviation admitted that it had failed in its constant efforts to bring down spiralling prices.
“However, we have ensured that in the last ten years prices of Public Distribution System items meant for the poor, have not been raised. The Food Security Act will ensure supply of essential items like wheat and rice at the cheapest price to over 80 crore people in the country,” he said.
He said by 2017, 5 crore youth would be covered under skill development training schemes. “Over 14 crore people have been elevated from Below Poverty Line to Above Poverty Line during the last ten years of the UPA regime. Eradication of polio has been a great achievement for the country during the UPA regime while there has been gradual reduction of infant mortality and maternal mortality rate in the country,” he said.
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at an election rally in Assam