Fight for secular democracy in Gujarat: Sonia | india | Hindustan Times
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Fight for secular democracy in Gujarat: Sonia

india Updated: Nov 18, 2007 11:52 IST

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Ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has stressed that the party must continue its fight for a secular and constitutional democracy, especially in the western state where she said communal politics has polarised society.

"One of the main principles of the Congress has been its commitment to secularism. This is particularly important in Gujarat where communal politics has polarised society and undermined the pluralist and tolerant ethos of our nation," Gandhi said in the latest issue of 'Congress Sandesh'.

She noted that the Congress under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi fought for India's independence along with men and women of all faith.

"It was a nationalism that espoused equal rights for all its citizens irrespective of caste and creed. Our workers and supporters need to once again bring out the importance of our fundamental principles of non-violence and inclusive development. We must continue our fight for a secular and constitutional democracy," Gandhi said in a letter to partymen.

In its editorial, the party mouthpiece attacked the BJP government in Gujarat, charging it with shattering the ethos of "inclusive nationalism" in the state.

"The recent exposure of the brutal manner in which the minority community was targeted in Gujarat is shocking and must be condemned by all Indians. Such acts are not Hinduism. They are instead the negation of a great and peace loving faith," it said.

"In the land of Mahatma Gandhi we have instead the destruction of all his principles. Nationalism for the BJP means identifying minority groups and tribal cultures as targets," the editorial said, further attacking the BJP for its alleged communalisation of the Sethusamudram project.

Gandhi, meanwhile, in her letter also spoke about her recent visit to China and said the Congress planned to exchange party-level delegations, especially from among the young leaders.

"We also expect to step up student exchanges and establish research programmes at the university level in addition to wider cultural exchanges," she said.

Gandhi said it was important that the people of the two countries got to know more about one another. "Our two countries will be a dominant economic force in the coming decades; working together, we can be a positive influence for peace, prosperity and stability in the region and the world," she said.