Sonia denounces Modi, calls for a ‘new Gujarat’

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October 4, 2012

AHMEDABAD — Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday gave a clarion call for a –new Gujarat– while keeping its traditions intact.

October 4, 2012

AHMEDABAD — Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday gave a clarion call for a –new Gujarat– while keeping its traditions intact.

Addressing a massive rally of farmers in Rajkot, 200km from here, Sonia did not name Chief Minister Narendra Modi but posed several questions to his government for the woes of the underprivileged in the state and made a fervent appeal to help the Congress in building a 'new Gujarat'.

The chairperson of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) said that Congress leaders were behind the state's enviable growth in industries, petrochemicals and textiles and even now the UPA government had given to Gujarat 50 per cent more funds for its development than the then BJP-led NDA government at the centre.

But, she said, "our opponents can't see this development and speak negatively" and hence the truth did not reach the people.

Giving an example, Sonia said that the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Scheme was devised by Congress leaders and named after the Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who hailed from Gujarat. But under the BJP rule, the Narmada waters had still not reached the people of Saurashtra. Sonia said: "The farmers here are suffering due to lack of water. I want to ask as to why the Narmada water has not reached the farmers of Saurashtra in the last 10 years."

During her 15-minute speech, she blasted the BJP for disrupting parliament proceedings saying "they are not against corruption but they are against us". Sonia also defended the recent hike in diesel prices saying that the Centre procured 80 per cent of crude oil from abroad and its price had risen from $32 per barrel during the NDA rule in 2004 to $140 now.

"Therefore, whenever international prices go up, we have to bear it resulting in hike in petroleum products", she explained but went on to point out that the rate of value-added tax was the highest in Gujarat and asked why the state government was not reducing VAT rates.

Speaking about yet another ugly situation in Gujarat, the Congress chief said that the UPA government had given rights to poor tribals to acquire land but in Gujarat this right was not given.

Referring to the recent death of three Dalits in police fiiring in Saurashtra, Sonia also said that Dalits were shot at when they sought justice and Babasaheb Ambedkar's ideals were insulted.

She spoke about the plight of farmers and women and blamed the Gujarat government for its failure to appoint the lok ayukta (anti-corruption ombudsman).

Before speaking at the farmers' rally, she visited Ramkrishna Ashram and 'Gandhi-Smruti', the place where Mahatma Gandhi stayed during his school days.


Courtesy: KT