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Cong dismisses Sonia-PM 'rift'

delhi Updated: Sep 11, 2010 01:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The Congress on Friday said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that his government was more cohesive than those of Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi did mean that any government was bad.

"These are all Congress governments. In their time, all these governments worked well. It is not correct to say this government is good or that government is bad. The Prime Minister did not mean to say any government was bad," party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said.

Asked whether the party agreed with it, Ahmed said the Prime Minister's remark should be seen in context.

"How can we say that this UPA government is better than the last one or the last government was better than UPA 1? The last government was good and this too is good."

Ahmed hailed Singh as a "very effective and competent" Prime Minister and dismissed reports of any differences between him and party chief Sonia Gandhi on the issues of environment, land acquisition and development.

"There is no difference between the two... between what the Prime Minister said and what the Congress president said... the party line is striking a balance between environment and development," Ahmed said.

The party also backed general secretary Rahul Gandhi on his "two Bengals" statement. "It is a fact that rural Bengal is deprived of basic amenities. If you travel in these areas, you will see how backward they are. This has happened during the long rule of the Left in the state," Ahmed said.

During a rally in West Bengal, Rahul had described Purulia as one of the most backward parts of the country and that there were two Bengals — one for the rich and another for the poor.

The CPM reacted sharply to the statement with an editorial in CPM mouthpiece People's Democracy saying, "A comparison of the socio-economic indicators of Purulia with those in Rae Bareli and Amethi will tell the real story."

Ahmed said the "CPM is good at juggling" figures and that though the situation in rural Bengal was "pathetic", rural India in general needed improvement.