Sonia tears into Left in its backyard
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Sonia tears into Left in its backyard

Coming down heavily on BJP and the Left, the Congress president challenges both the parties to present a better prime ministerial candidate than Manmohan Singh. Ramesh Babu reports.Special Coverage

india Updated: Apr 09, 2009 09:30 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times

During a whirlwind tour of Kerala, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday challenged the Left and BJP to present a better prime ministerial candidate than Manmohan Singh, and condemned the parties for singling out and attacking the prime minister.

It was a “big shame” that the parties had joined hands to use “bad and negative language”, she said, speaking at four well-attended meetings across the state.

“We are fortunate to have a PM like him,” Sonia said in north Kerala’s Vatakara. “Once he’s elevated, he is the prime minister of the whole country and its people. It is a big shame both parties are attacking him. It is sad indeed.”

Taking on BJP leader L.K. Advani, who recently dubbed Dr Singh the weakest PM ever, she said the country knew well who released a dreaded terrorist [during the Kandahar hijacking] and escorted him to Afghanistan.

Expressing dismay over the Left joining the BJP in attacking the PM, she said the former would never learn from its mistakes and continued to live in the past.

She also slammed the Left, saying the party always spoke of secularism but “in the last 30 years, it had allied with the BJP twice… [while] the Congress never compromised on secularism.”

“What have they (the Left) done in the last three years? The state suffered economic stagnation because of their internal bickering,” she told a crowd in Thrissur. “They are prisoners of outdated mindsets. They trampled on constitutional guarantees given to minorities.”

Winding up her day in state capital Thiruvananthapuram, she pleased the crowd by bring up the deep-rooted corruption in the local CPM government, saying even a state functionary of the CPM was not free from charges of corruption.

Kerala goes to the polls on April 16.

First Published: Apr 09, 2009 00:30 IST