TDP anti-poor: Sonia

Updated on Apr 24, 2004 08:40 PM IST

With exit polls in AP showing a swing in favour of the Congress, a combative Sonia Gandhi urged people to "pack off" the "anti-poor" TDP govt.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Hyderabad

In the midst of opinion polls projecting an edge for her party in Andhra Pradesh elections, a combative Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday urged people to "pack off" the "scam-tainted" NDA at the Centre and "anti-poor" TDP government in the state at the hustings.

In a whirlwind tour of the state, Gandhi addressed public meetings at Ongole, Nellore and Guntur in the coastal belt seeking a decisive mandate for Congress to help put the country back on the track of development.

Focussing on welfare theme, she sought to paint a contrasting picture saying while the NDA was steeped in scandals and epitomised failed promises, the previous Congress governments worked for the welfare of weaker sections, under-privileged and youth.

"Utter dishonesty has permeated the NDA regime. We have seen how BJP leaders were caught on camera accepting money. They are persuing divisive politics and have made a mockery of poll promises," Gandhi told a well-attended public meeting in Guntur.

Observing that "gloom and distress" pervaded the TDP rule, Congress President Sonia Gandhi dismissed Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's claim of creating a "Swarnandhra Pradesh" as a "mirage".

Under the TDP rule, prices had soared, unemployment had increased and farmers failed to get remunerative prices, she said.

Assuring farmers that their grievances will be addressed if Congress was voted to power, Gandhi expressed her sympathies to chilli farmers of the area, who have been agitating for fair prices for the commodity.

She said minorities, dalits and tribals are feeling insecure under the NDA rule and "nothing has been done to better their lot."

Likening Indian society to a big joint family, Gandhi said: "Like how parents take special care of their children who are weak, the Congress governments always had special programmes designed to cater to the needs of weaker sections of the society. It is only Congress which has been striving for the welfare of the under-privileged."

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