In a virulent attack on BJP, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said the Lok Sabha polls are vital to safeguard cherished national ideals like "unity and secularism" which were under threat.
"2014 is the most important election because it's about what kind of India you want. Idea of India is under threat by those who don't just seek to rule but to change India's very heart and soul," Gandhi said addressing a special convention of the Congress workers from across Kerala.
"The choice is between India of all or India of some serving the interest of few. We want unity, they want uniformity. Our idea joins India together, their's divides," she said.
"Our principal opposition will argue that after ten years of the UPA rule, it is time to change. I want to ask a change to what? Do the people of India really want to give up the long-cherished values for lies and untested promises," she said.
Calling upon the workers to toil hard for victory of the party, Gandhi said "you have a choice to build India of 21st century or an India confined to prisons of an ideology."
Launching the poll campaign of the United Democratic Front (UDF) it heads in Kerala, Gandhi also had some sharp comments against the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front.
In Kerala, the choice will be between a party that stands for 21st century and one whose ideology is irrelevant, she said.
She also berated the CPI(M), though without naming it, as a party that does not believe in non-violence. This, she said, was in contrast to the Congress, which had always stood for consensus and dialogue without deviating from its basic principle of non-violence.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and newly-appointed KPCC president V M Sudheeran were among the leaders who addressed the convention attended by functionaries from the booth level upwards. "The 2014 elections is not just about records or achievements but to defend the traditional values taught by the freedom fighters. This is more important than any other elections as it is about the country's future," Gandhi said.
Holding that the Congress stood for the unity of the nation, Gandhi said "the choice before us is very clear. Whether you want to support the united India or that divided by hatred."
"The Congress' ideology is the ideology of one nation. It doesn't matter what language you speak or what caste you belong. What only matters is whether you are an Indian.
"The tradition and values taught to us by our freedom fighters are under threat. The rivals are trying to weaken the basic ideology of India and change its very heart and soul," she said.
She said the Congress party stood for development and democracy and would fight for it till the last breath.
Tearing into the ideology and approach of LDF led by the CPI(M), her party's main rival in Kerala, Gandhi said though the Left claimed that they stood for people, they had opposed every single scheme the UPA proposed without doing anything for the poor themselves.
"What do you want? A party stands for development? or a party sticks to ideology that became irrelevant." She also accused the Left of resorting to violence, in an apparent reference to the murder of Marxist rebel T P Chandrasekharan.
"They settle differences through violence, brutal acts and murders. They believe in outdated ideals and dogmas of past. They had been shouting against corruption from rooftops. But had they taken any action against their corrupt leaders in states ruled by them?" Gandhi asked.