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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Sonia Gandhi 100% sure of UPA 3, says no early polls

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 24, 2013
First Published: 12:16 IST(24/8/2013) | Last Updated: 01:49 IST(25/8/2013)

Ruling out the possibility of early general elections, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday expressed confidence that the UPA will come back to power for a third successive term.

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“Certainly… 100%,” she said when asked by journalists if the alliance will retain power after the next Lok Sabha polls. Her assertion prompted a response from BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who used Gandhi’s words to similarly affirm that the NDA would “100%” come to power.

Talking to reporters after inaugurating the National Media Centre in the Capital, Gandhi also said that elections will be held as per schedule. “Our aim is to go till the very end,” she said.

Initially, however, she tried to steer clear of the question whether the Congress would go for early polls after the passage of its key bills in Parliament. “I cannot say anything” was her refrain till journalists persisted.

Political circles are abuzz with speculation that the Lok Sabha polls, due in April-May 2014, may be clubbed together
with assembly elections in five states in November this year.

Asked about the government’s unique selling point, she replied: “Obviously so many rights we have given. It is our right to information, right to education and now right to food”.

Gandhi also expressed hope that the food security bill will be passed in Parliament next week. “How can I say?” was her response when asked if the BJP will cooperate to ensure its passage.

On the Telangana issue, she said that the Congress panel, headed by defence minister AK Antony, was hearing the concerns of those affected.

She added that the government will set up a committee, apparently referring to a group of ministers expected to be formed after the cabinet
gives its nod to carve out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.


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