Sonia backs Manmohan, pats CM at massive Mandya rally
By K Shiva Kumar | Published: 01st October 2013 11:17 AM |
She didn’t mention the controversial ordinance that could have saved her old friend, Lalu Prasad Yadav. She also didn’t mention her son Rahul Gandhi’s opinion that it should be torn up.
Instead, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on a mission to thank people of Karnataka for voting her party to power, iterated an old line on Monday: “People make fun of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but the whole party is behind him. It is under his leadership that we have all these achievements.’’
The Congress will come back to power, said Sonia, who also praised Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in her crisp and combative 15-minute speech. The speech unofficially launched the party’s 2014 Lok Sabha campaign in the state. Discounting the challenge posed by BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi, she told the nearly two-lakh-strong crowd: “The BJP ridiculed the UPA government’s programmes. But no other government in the past has passed the historic bills that the UPA has, to uplift the poor. Despite this, we are aware that there are millions out there suffering from hunger and malnutrition.’’
With Sonia coming to the venue by road from Mysore due to inclement weather, traffic was thrown out of kilter all along. She stood outside her vehicle and waved to the crowds all along, with people just yards away from the Congress chief.
Vehicles ferried people from all nearby districts.
The going rate was Rs 300 per head with food and transport. There were protests in Malavalli and Chennapatna as government buses had been diverted to ferry people to the rally. There was confusion at the entrances to the venue, Sir M V Stadium.
Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao and former legislative council chairman V S Ugrappa, who had to enter via the VIP gate rather than the VVIP one, had to struggle to get in.
Sonia accused the BJP of “trying its best’’ to not pass the Food Bill and said the party spread rumours that it will not benefit farmers.
In keeping with the sentiments of the Vokkaliga heartland where the rally was held, Sonia said: “Farmers are the centre of all our government policies and programmes. The nation has benefited from the hard work of the farming community and this has also enabled the government to implement programmes.”
She also referred to the Land Acquisition Bill under which land acquisition will not take place without the consent of the farmers.
Sonia criticised the previous BJP government in the state for “spreading fear, making false promises, indulging in corruption and also for the attacks on minorities and young people”. “The Congress respects all and wants to protect the rights of women, dalits, OBCs and tribals through legislation. Why did the BJP that ruled the country for six years and Karnataka for seven years, fail to bring in such a legislation? They don’t care for the poor or the common man,” she said.
Sonia showered praises on Chief Minister Siddaramaiah for “good governance” .
“The Congress government under the leadership of Siddaramaiah has stood by the promises made to the people of the state to give good, clean and progressive governance,” Sonia said and lauded the Anna Bhagya programme that gives rice at `1 a kg to BPL families.