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'Cong committed to expose Modi's grave failures'

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also makes a veiled attack on the CPI(M)-led Govt in West Bengal over the violence in Nandigram.

delhi Updated: Dec 06, 2007 14:47 IST

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said her party was committed to highlighting the "grave failures" of the BJP government in poll-bound Gujarat.

Gandhi, addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) meeting, also made a veiled attack on the CPI(M)-led government in West Bengal over the violence in Nandigram.

"In our campaign, we are reaffirming our firm commitment to fundamental Constitutional and secular values and highlighting the grave failures of the BJP government," she said at the meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at her side.

Obviously referring to the Tehelka sting operation over the post-Godhra riots, Gandhi, who is also the CPP Chairperson, said, "the media had also exposed the active involvement of the BJP leadership in the brutalities which took place in 2002."

Complimenting the Prime Minister for his "wise leadership which he has demonstrated with quiet determination," she attacked the BJP for its "obstructionist attitude" in Parliament.

She said the "hollowness" of the main Opposition's stance was once again exposed during the debate on the nuclear deal. Turning to Nandigram, Gandhi said the cult of violence and the manner in which armed party cadres prevented the law and order machinery from fulfilling its obligations to the people was most unfortunate.

"A permanent solution must be found to ensure that such incidents do not occur again and again," she said noting that the AICC resolution had highlighted the party's stand.

The attack on the Nandigram issue comes at a time when Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has admitted that it was a "political and administrative failure" and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has made a big capital out of it.

On Gujarat, she said promises made by the BJP over the past decade or more have turned out to be hollow. "Highly exaggerated and in some cases false claims on development are being made," she said, noting that it is her impression that the people of Gujarat were looking forward to a change.

She expressed hope that in Himachal Pradesh, the party is working unitedly and would get a renewed mandate as "our state government has worked for the welfare of the people and development of the state over the past five years."

She said within a couple of weeks the party would have to gear itself fully for elections in Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland, states where "our party has been very strong in the past and where we need to recapture that position."

In all the three states, political competition is keen, but the Congress has taken up the challenge in right earnest, Gandhi said. In an indication that the party was getting into election mode, Gandhi expressed the hope that the MPs would spend time in their constituencies, among the people, speak to them about the party's programmes and learn what they expected of them and the party.

She preceded the remark by complimenting the Prime Minister and noted, "we have very many accomplishments to our credit."

Noting that in the current Session too a number of days were lost because of BJP's obstructionist attitude, Gandhi said she had thought that with the passage of time their frustration at having lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections would moderate. "But clearly, that does not seem to be the case," she said.

Referring to the violence in Assam, Gandhi said it needed to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. She said the party's government was prompt in ordering an inquiry and has also asked for a CBI investigation.

At the same time, she expressed her agony and distress at the manner in which a young Adivasi girl's self-respect and pride were violated.
On the blasts in Uttar Pradesh, she said the people of the state have maintained social peace and harmony in the face of grave provocation.
"There is clearly need for stepped up actionable intelligence and for greater vigilance and monitoring of sensitive public places," Gandhi said.

She referred to "some new initiatives of great significance" announced by the Government in recent days, including the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, a Rs 790 crore integrated handloom development programme and National Urban Housing and Habitat Policy.

She said a Rs 1530 post matric scholarship scheme for students belonging to minority communities is now ready, which would benefit 15 lakh youths. She said the 11th Plan, which would be approved in a fortnight's time, was not just for sustaining high economic growth but also for empowering the weaker sections of the society to achieve tangible benefits from the growth.