Congress president Sonia Gandhi kicked off the party's election campaign in Nanded on Tuesday by stressing the achievements of the party-led ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre.
Addressing a well-attended public rally in Nanded on Tuesday afternoon, Gandhi announced a central grant of Rs.20 billion for the development of Nanded, upgrading of the infrastructure in the town and related projects.
She also dwelt on various public welfare schemes undertaken in the state and concluded her speech with a "Jai Maharashtra" as the crowd cheered its approval.
Earlier, she visited the Hazoor Sahib Gurudwara, one of the five holy Takhts of the Sikhs which is celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Gurta Gaddi (Seat of Guru).
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh stressed the major achievements of the Democratic Front state government. He expressed confidence that the party would romp home with majority in the general elections slated next year.
Over a million Sikh devotees are expected to arrive at Nanded from around the world to participate in the 21-day long Gurta Gaddi 300th anniversary celebrations that start in Nanded next Monday.
In view of the celebrations, the state government last week commissioned the upgraded and modernized Nanded Airport, which can now handle large aircraft, as well as Latur airport, both of which are connected by direct commercial services to Mumbai.
Present at the rally were Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, All India Congress Committee general secretary handling the state Margaret Alva, state Congress president Manikrao Thakre and other party leaders.