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'No compromise on foreigners issue'

However, the UPA chief assured that no genuine Indian citizen would be harassed during the detection process.

india Updated: Apr 06, 2006 16:10 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said that there would be no compromise on the issue of illegal foreigners in Assam.

However, she assured that no genuine Indian citizen would be harassed during the detection process.

"Foreigners have to go but genuine citizens of the country will not be harassed. The Foreigners Tribunal Order is being amended to ensure that the rights of genuine citizens are protected", Sonia said addressing an election rally in Nagaon.

She claimed that even after the scrapping of the IMDT Act, the Congress government in the state had ensured that no citizen suffered injustice due to its repeal.

Appealing to the voters to ensure that Congress came back to power in the state, Sonia claimed: "If the decision during elections go wrong, not only the country but the state, in particular, is taken backwards by several years and problems for the people increase."

The people in the state have experienced two non-Congress governments when development and progress came to a halt, she said.

"During AGP's rule there was an atmosphere of fear, treasury was emptied by them, the state was under heavy burden of debt and the government employees did not get their salaries. Under such difficult circumstances you elected the Congress and I am happy they have worked for your progress," she added.

Sonia, who is on a day-long visit to campaign for party candidates at Nagaon, Mangaldoi and Dhubri for the second phase of assembly polls, claimed the Congress government in Assam in spite of all the difficulties it inherited, "has ensured progress and development and improved financial condition of the state".

"I am asking for your vote on the basis of the government's performance and the Congress policy. I promise the Congress will not let you down but will work harder and ensure more than what it had done last time," she said.

Criticising the NDA, the UPA Chairperson said during the previous government at the Centre, the state government received half the help of what the UPA government is giving now.

She said the Assam Accord was signed when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister but the AGP did not implement its clauses and act on it seriously.

Congress has always worked for the downtrodden and the underprivileged with poverty and unemployment being given the utmost priority.

The UPA government has ensured 100 days work for unemployed under the National Rural Employment Programme.

She also claimed that for other parties coming to power was of prime interest but "for us serving the people is a matter of principle and we cannot compromise on it".

Sonia began her speech by paying obeisance to the 16th century patron saint Sankaradeva and praised his contribution in the unification of Assamese society.