Attacked by BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Friday over a senior Congress leader allegedly seeking support from Naxals, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday sought to clarify that her government is dealing with the problem.
“We are aware that Gondia and Gadchiroli are affected by Naxalism. But we have taken steps to deal with it. Violence is not the solution to any problem, industrial development and awareness are,” Sonia told a gathering at Lakhni at a campaign rally for NCP Bhandara-Gondia nominee Praful Patel.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had preferred to skip Naxalism in his speech at Wadsa in Gadchiroli a few days ago.
Reiterating her party’s “revolutionary” steps such as Food Security Act and free medical treatment to poor, Sonia lambasted the BJP for its criticism that “no development has happened” under the UPA. “So, do they mean that India has become a world power just like that,” Sonia asked, reeling out the oft-repeated list of independence struggle led by the Congress, industrialisation by Pandit Nehru, bank nationalisation by Indira Gandhi and technology push by Rajiv Gandhi. “Were all these steps wrong,” she asked.
Saying that BJP and Shiv Sena believe in the politics of propaganda, Sonia said Congress believes in healthy, wealthy and happy India.
“This is a battle of thoughts — between BJP that believes in creating divisions in society and us who believe in uniting society. We must save the country from such people and hence I appeal to you to ensure victory of Congress and NCP nominees,” Sonia said.
Earlier, NCP president Sharad Pawar sharpened his attack on Modi, accusing him of harbouring “extremist, communal and dictatorial” thoughts.
“As Chief Minister sitting just 20 km away, he didn’t visit the grief-stricken family of a Ahmedabad Congress MP (Ahsan Jaffri), who was burnt alive with 10 others in 2002 riots. It shows how he has a different policy towards other communities,” Pawar said.
“He (Modi) is like a made up groom who can’t wait to get married. Babasaheb Ambedkar has laid down a procedure for a Prime Minister. First step is to win the election and then acquire some experience. Here, the he is ready even before you could cast your vote,” Pawar said.
Interestingly, just a day ago, the BJP had filed a complaint with the Election Commission against Patel for using his photos with Narendra Modi in his election material.
Sonia later also addressed a rally at Chikhli near here for Nagpur party nominee Vilas Muttemwar and Ramtek nominee Mukul Wasnik.