A vote for Congress is a vote for progress. The alternative is more instability of the kind that Karnataka has experienced for the last four years. This was the sum and substance of the speech that Sonia Gandhi delivered at Mangalore’s Nehru Maidan on Wednesday to a crowd of about 10,000 people, including a sizable number of women.
After the initial "Sahodhara, Sahodhari avare" (brothers and sisters), Sonia switched to Hindi and listed the contribution of the Congress to nation building. This is a land of education and progress, she said.
Which was what the Congress government worked for all these years, alleviating poverty, providing employment under the National Rural Employment Programme and tabling legislation in Parliament to provide reservation to women in the legislatures.
"What is essential now is that the government that is elected should stay for five years," she said. "Other than the Congress, no party has run a government for five years (in Karnataka)".
She then took a swipe at both the BJP and the Janata Dal (S). "Some parties spread hatred in the name of religion and caste. And there are parties which will align with any party to come to power," she said, referring to the Janata Dal (S). "The results are there to see — Karnataka is going backward."
She lauded the Manmohan Singh government as one that works. It has worked for the poor, for women and Adivasis and brought in the Right to Information Act to promote good governance, whereas the Vajpayee Government only shed crocodile tears for the poor.