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RJD rally: Sonia Gandhi urges opposition to stand united against ‘betrayer’ BJP

In an audio message played at the RJD-sponsored anti-BJP rally in Patna, the Congress chief accused the BJP of destroying the basic tenets of the country - unity, brotherhood and tolerance.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2017 21:10 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Patna, Hindustan Times
Sonia Gandhi,RJD rally,Anti-BJP rally
In her audio message, Sonia Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remark that those pursuing politics of opposition had turned irrelevant. (Arvind Yadav/HT file)

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday urged opposition parties to stand united against the ruling BJP at the Centre, a month after Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar broke the opposition ranks.

In an audio message that was played at the RJD-sponsored anti-BJP rally at Patna’s Gandhi Maidan, the Congress chief accused the ruling party of destroying the basic tenets of the country-- unity, brotherhood and tolerance.

She could not personally attend the ‘Desh bachao, Bhajapa bhagao’ rally due to her poor health and sickness of Priyanka Gandhi, who is suffering from dengue.

In her audio message, Gandhi also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remark that those pursuing politics of opposition had turned irrelevant. “The fact is that those ignoring the truth would not remain relevant for long,” she said.

Referring to Nitish Kumar forming a new government in Bihar last month with the support of the BJP, dumping the Congress and the RJD, Gandhi said it was not only the betrayal of trust of people of the state, but also the whole nation.

She said the BJP “disrespected the popular mandate” to cover up its ‘corrupt acts.’

“The BJP is a party that hardly cares for the people and always pursues its own interest,” she said listing the Centre’s alleged failures in fulfilling the promises made to the people.

“The BJP captured power by making tall promises, which it never wished to fulfil. Instead, people are burdened with heavy taxes. Farmers and the poor are left to fend for themselves, even as loans worth hundreds of crores of ‘rich friends’ ( of the BJP) were waived off,” alleged Gandhi.

She urged the people to stand by the ideology of father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi, which helped the country carve a respectable place for itself.

Leaders of different political parties, including West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, SP president Akhilesh Yadav, rebel JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav and Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad attended the rally among others.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad dubbed it as an important event ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, in his text message dwelt on, what he termed, “corrupt deals and nefarious acts” of the ruling coalition, the National Democratic Alliance.

“The ruling party is expanding its reach by tampering with the popular mandate with the help of money and muscle power,” he added.

His message was read out by state Congress president Ashok Choudhary.

“The rally has been organised at a time when the country’s democratic foundation is under severe attack. The future of the poor, women, farmers and youths are at stake, as the ruling party leaders are trying to make the people forget about their electoral promises,” Gandhi said.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad too addressed the rally.

Taking a pot-shot at Modi’s ‘flood relief package’ for Bihar, Azad said the NDA government gave the state just Rs 500 crore this year, while then Congress-led UPA government at the Centre sanctioned Rs 1000 crore when the state was devastated by deluge in 2008.

“This time, more than 1.75 crore people of 21 districts have been hit by the floods against 20 lakh of seven districts affected in 2008. Even the death toll has crossed 440 against 250 in 2008,” added the Congress leader.

First Published: Aug 27, 2017 21:09 IST