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Beware of those who use Shivaji’s name: Sonia

india Updated: Oct 07, 2009 02:41 IST

Her party has budgeted Rs 350 crore for a Shivaji statue off the Mumbai coast. But Congress President Sonia Gandhi has criticised the saffron alliance, without naming it, asking voters to beware of parties who use names of historic figures like Shivaji for their political gain.

“There are people who use Shivaji’s name for their own political gain. Beware of them don’t get swayed by what they say or believe in those people,” Gandhi said at a rally at Nashik’s Golf Club Ground on Tuesday.

The Nashik rally was the first of Sonia Gandhi’s whirlwind campaigning trip across Maharashtra.

The Congress president, in her seven-minute speech, avoided taking the names of any political parties. She said that other political parties were only using people’s emotions to gather votes. “Other political parties don’t have anything to offer in terms of development. They don’t have any policies or programmes they only play with your emotions by which they hope to come to power,” Gandhi said.

The Congress-led Maharashtra government’s move to build the Shivaji memorial was recently termed as a “stupid move” by Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. Gandhi also said that the vote to a Congress-Nationalist Congress Party candidate would be a vote in the interest of the country. "We don't differentiate against people on basis of their language, religion or region," she said.

She also raised the issue of the implementation of the Sachchar Committee recommendations saying that the government was working towards empowering the minorities.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Congress state president Manikrao Thakre were present for the rally. Sonia is expected to hold a rally in Mumbai towards the end of the week while Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi will campaign in Panvel on Thursday.