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Sonia Gandhi hits back at BJP

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday slammed the saffron party for accusing her party of being "soft on terrorism".

india Updated: May 07, 2008 22:13 IST

Pointing out that the country witnessed major terrorist attacks, including the hijacking of an IA plane to Kandahar, during the BJP-led NDA rule, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday slammed the saffron party for accusing her party of being "soft on terrorism".

"We want to ask BJP leaders as to who freed the terrorists during Kandahar hijack. Whether it was attack on Parliament, Akshardham temple in Gujarat or in Kashmir, all these terror attacks happened under BJP government", she said while kicking off her party's electioneering in poll-bound Karnataka.

"Whom are they trying to fool. We do not need a certificate on patriotism from such people," Sonia said. Sonia, who undertook a whirlwind campaign in Tumkur and Bangalore for the first phase of election slated for May 10 in 89 assembly segments, arrived here this morning and immediately left for Tumkur by a helicopter.

Throughout her brief speech, Gandhi lashed out at BJP for training its guns against it on the issue of terrorism telling the electorate "our opponents are levelling all kinds of allegations against us. But people know the truth."

Congress has always fought against terrorism and even sacrified its leaders such as Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi she said, adding, "we cannot tolerate this".

Referring to the price rise, another contentious issue being raised by BJP, Sonia Gandhi said the UPA government is initiating measures to stabilise prices and stepping up procurement of rice and wheat.

Stating that Karnataka had made "stupendous strides" in the IT and BT sectors, Gandhi said it was due to efforts by her late husband Rajiv Gandhi that the state carved a place in the global map.

"When Rajiv Gandhi spoke about IT and BT, it was the same party (BJP) that ridiculed him and now it is taking credit for the same," Gandhi said while addressing an election rally at Krishnarajapuram in the city.

The country has witnessed progress due to the visionary leaders of Congress, she said. She came down heavily on her opponents, whom she accused of practising "selfish and opportunistic policies". "These parties are ready to compromise on their ideology and are misleading people", she said.

Launching a frontal attack on the JDS-BJP coalition government that ruled Karnataka for 20 months, Gandhi said "it was nothing but a game of corruption and pusuit of power".

Appealing to the people to vote Congress for a stable government, she said "if people of Karnataka do not want repetition of the same, they must vote for Congress".

Hailing the governance of former Chief Minister S M Krishna during 1999-2004, Gandhi said it was under the Congress and its policies that the state witnessed surplus budgets.