Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday defended Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying he was a strong leader and man of integrity, but hit out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani for failing to prevent the terror attack on parliament when he was home minister.
Addressing her first election meeting in this southern state, she also targeted the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for handing over dreaded terrorists to hijackers in Afghanistan.
"You have a choice to make. On one side you have a prime minister who is a man of integrity and on the other side a BJP leader who talks of fighting terror but you know what happened during his rule. He is making baseless allegations against our PM," she told the crowd.
"Perhaps for him (Advani) a strong leader is one during whose tenure as home minister and deputy PM, the parliament was attacked and dangerous terrorists were taken out from jail and sent to Afghanistan," Gandhi said.
"For us a strong leader is one who does not make tall claims but does great work. It is a matter of pride that after the recent terror attacks in Mumbai our government mounted diplomatic pressure on Pakistan and as a result Pakistan owned up the truth," she added.
On the Telangana issue, she said the Congress had no objection to the creation of a separate Telangana state.
"As far as Telangana is concerned, the chief minister has made a statement in the assembly and the Congress party also said that it has no objection to formation of a separate Telangana state and we will take up this issue on priority," she said.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson also trained her guns on the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the third front, saying they cheated people time and again.
"You have to decide for the next five years in which direction the country and Andhra Pradesh should go," she said seeking another term for the Congress both in the state and at the centre.
She listed out the achievements of the Congress party during its long history and the steps taken by the Congress-led UPA government including the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, waiver of farmers' loans, the mid-day meal scheme, scholarships to students of weaker sections and the India-US nuclear deal.