She took no names but the reference was obvious. Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday slammed the BJP and anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare and his team, saying double standards on corruption were not acceptable.
"Corruption cannot be eradicated in a manner in which people think that their corruption is very sacred and corruption among others is very bad. These days this is what is happening."
The reference was to some Team Anna members who are facing allegations of financial impropriety and the BJP, whose senior leader LK Advani is on nationwide campaign against corruption scandals involving the Manmohan Singh government.
She also criticised the "hue and cry" over the lokpal bill, saying it was not needed as the government was committed to soon bringing forth the legislation to tackle corruption.
Besides, "corruption cannot be fought by speeches," she observed. Sonia cancelled what would have been her first public meeting since her return from the US after surgery two months ago, fuelling fresh speculation about her health.
The Congress said she was down with viral fever and categorically denied that she was going abroad for further treatment. As Sonia was unable to leave Delhi, her speech was read out by party MP Vijay Bahuguna at Gauchar in Chamoli district of poll-bound Uttarakhand, which is governed by the BJP. She was to lay the foundation stone for a railway project at Gauchar.
Sonia's rally was being seen as the launch of the Congress campaign for the assembly elections due in the northern state early next year. Defence minister AK Antony and railway minister Dinesh Trivedi laid the foundation stone of the project in Gandhi's absence.
Uttarakhand CM BC Khanduri, however, complained that his government had "not been involved" in the ceremony. He said such development programmes "should not be allowed to be politicised" and told the PM "it would affect Centre-state relations".