Sonia promises sufficient money for Mumbai

Sonia said Centre and State governments were committed to fulfill the needs of cross sections of the society, reports Dharmendra Jore.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2006 20:44 IST

Striking a fine balance between the rich and poor in Mumbai, the Congress president Sonia Gandhi said on Saturday that the Centre and State governments were committed to fulfill the needs of cross sections of the society.

Addressing the Congress foundation rally, which also marked the beginning of campaign for local municipal polls scheduled for February 1, Sonia promised sufficient money for city's infrastructure development.

"The construction of houses for the poor and rehabilitation of those displaced from the old buildings, providing water and drainage is our topmost priority," she told a massive rally.

In view of the huge Dalit population in the city and state, Sonia assured that the government would take utmost care in preventing the Khairlanji-like incidents. "The incident (killing of a Dalit family in Khairlaji) was humiliating. The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) would bring the guilty to book."

She also cautioned the Dalits not to fall prey to the evil designs of the people who instigate them to resort to violence. "Beware of those who create unrest. Please stand firm with the Congress," she appealed.

Sonia also dealt with the issues related to minorities. "The Malegaon and Nanded bomb blast cases have also been handed over to CBI."

Although she didn't mention the Mumbai civic polls directly in her speech, she thanked the Congress supporters for voting the party's by-election and council poll candidates to wins. "You know the fine work being done by the State Government and you must support its efforts."

Recalling last year's demolition drive in Mumbai that she had stopped asking the government to give it a human face, Sonia reiterated that the poor would continue to get homes. "The Congress always thought about the welfare of poor. But I must tell the government that it must use the money allotted for particular projects and also see to it that they get completed within time. I think it would help all of us."

And while she talked about the poor, she didn't forget to promise the white-collor population that Mumbai would continue to be the country's financial hub.

"The city would get whatever it wants. We've already sanctioned a new airport in New Mumbai and the existing airport is being upgraded. The railways are also getting proper attention."

A massive turn-out of women prompted Sonia to remark that she trusted women for their wholehearted support. "The men may not like it but I must say that the women have better judgment of the good and bad."

First Published: Dec 23, 2006 20:44 IST