Sonia Gandhi rolled out the UPA government’s performance chart as she launched the partys’s nationwide Bharat Nirman campaign in Davangere on Monday.
She appealed to the 200,000-strong gathering to back a single party regime in the general elections as she focused on stability and development during the Manmohan Singh years. Sonia also used the platform to make her first public statements about the third front. “Who knows when, who and where and with whom they will remain,” she said of the front. “There are as many prime ministers as the number of parties in it.”
“You have to decide what politics you want. On the one hand you have the Congress that has led country on the path of development. On the other, you have the BJP under whom everyone suffered… The recent incidents (of communal clashes) would have hurt Basavanna (saint, poet and social reformer from 12th-century Karnataka) the most. Law and order has collapsed and corruption is at its peak,” she said.
Congress’ choice of Davangere for the launch of the national campaign was based political and social factors. Besides, most
political parties believe it to be a lucky venue.
In 1999, the Congress picked Davangere for a key election rally that was addressed by Sonia Gandhi. The Congress went on to win 135 seats in that election.
Lost without translation
Despite the overwhelming turnout, Sonia’s message was sort of lost because of her choice of language for the 15-minute speech. She spoke in Hindi to an audience comprising mainly of Kannadigas. There was no simultaneous translation nor did any of the leaders summarize Sonia’s speech in Kannada at the end.
Her brisk speech in Hindi came as a disappointment for the people who came from the neighboring districts of Shimoga, Haveri, Gadag, and Bellary. “I came here to see her and hear what she had to tell us because I voted for her in 1999.
(Sonia contested LS poll that year). I could not follow what she said,” rued Hiribai (45), a tribal woman from Dasarahalli Thanda in Bellary district, about 70 km from here.