‘We have to make a new Gujarat and we will’

Sonia Gandhi visits Rajkot, sounds out poll alert by convincing farmers of the benefits of FDI in retail

Ashhar Khan
New Delhi

Not choosing to respond to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s verbal attacks about the UPA spending crores on Sonia Gandhi’s trip abroad and her treatment, Congress president on Wednesday 3 October sounded out the poll alert even before the dates for the next set of elections could be announced. Sonia was in Rajkot, Gujarat, addressing a huge farmer intensive rally, and as per the strategy charted out by the Congress, made no personal remarks against Modi or the 2002 communal riots.

The highlight of the rally was to explain to the farmers the salient features of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail. The other issue addressed by Sonia was farmer suicides and the problems that the farmers were facing. “These people are not against corruption, just against us. We have to make a new Gujarat and we will,” said Gandhi.

She further sharpened her attack on the Modi government on failing to protect farmers, Dalits and fishermen in the state. The rampant corruption, which is prevalent in Gujarat, was also a major point of the rally. Rajkot is the centre of Saurashtra — traditionally a BJP stronghold, where the Congress went on to win 4 Lok Sabha seats. It also accounts for 48 assembly seats, which the Congress has been eyeing.

The Congress feels that if the seats from this region can come to its kitty, it will deal a severe blow to the BJP. However, Gujarat BJP in-charge Balbir Punj, while dismissing Sonia’s claims, said, “Some statements made by Sonia Gandhi were absolutely false and others were half truths.”

The Congress had demanded an apology from Modi for his allegation that the central government spent Rs1,880 crore on Sonia’s foreign visits and medical treatment abroad. But he remained firm on his demand saying the answers should be revealed to the RTI queries on Sonia’s travel and treatment expenses.

Congress leader Rajiv Shukla said, “Modi should apologise to the nation and to the Gandhi family now that it is proved that his allegations on Soniaji’s foreign visits and her treatment abroad were wrong.”


Courtesy : http://www.tehelka.com

Read More : http://www.tehelka.com/story_main54.asp?filename=Ws031012Politics.asp

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