Though Congress president Sonia Gandhi failed to make it to the party's Haldwani rally on Wednesday, Congress leaders from the state did their best to keep thousands of party supporters in good humour with their anti-government ranting.
Hopes of thousands of people who had gathered on city ground in Haldwani to listen to Sonia Gandhi were dashed as the latter failed to show up at the rally. Initially, her public address was scheduled for 11.30 am. Later, it was announced that the Congress president was likely to land in Haldwani at 1 pm.
However, bad weather prevented her aircraft from taking off from Delhi. Nevertheless, Congress leaders, workers and others waited patiently for Sonia's arrival till almost 3 pm before it was announced that the AICC president's visit was cancelled due to poor weather condition.
Although the Congress chief could not turn up for the rally, the state leaders did manage to hold the fort.
Addressing the rally, Birender Singh claimed that the BJP had turned the state into backwaters in the five years of its tenure.
"The BJP government was never development- oriented. On the one hand, it was neck- deep in corruption while on the other, all developmental works remained in limbo for five years. The state government was indicted by the court but the chief minister failed to take action against erring officers and ministers," he alleged.
Union minister Harish Rawat condemned the state government for not implementing the central government -sponsored schemes in the state. They meted out a step -motherly treatment to the minority community and downtrodden populace, he said. "The state government bungled central funds for the poor and misappropriated several hundreds of crores sent by the union government for Mahakumbha" said Rawat. He expressed confidence that Congress would be back in the saddle after the assembly elections in the state.
Other important leaders who addressed the rally included CLP chief Harak Singh Rawat, likely Haldwani candidate Indira Hridayesh and PCC president Yashpal Arya. Arya was critical of the lokayukta Act enacted by the BJP government. He said that it was an institution sans teeth.