Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday asked the people to think of the achievements of two successive Congress-led UPA governments at the Centre before casting their votes. “It is only the Congress party that takes people along as it takes the country forward. The BJP, which divides the people, cannot do that,” he said.
Targeting the main opposition party, he said, “The BJP, which does not have any principle and philosophy (‘soch’), a party that divides the people, simply cannot take this country forward. It is only the Congress that can do this. It is only Congress that can provide a progressive and strong government.”
He accused the BJP of “standing in the way of passing several anti-corruption Bills in Parliament despite sincere efforts by the Congress-led government to pass those laws”. “We wanted to bring several laws to end corruption. These were intended at prevention of corruption and making various services easily available for the people. But these laws could not be passed because of the BJP’s non-cooperation in Parliament. I am telling this to you so you can yourself find out the real face of a party that speaks so much against corruption.”
Singh, who addressed the rally in the Khumtai tea estate playground near here, had come to campaign for Union minister Paban Singh Ghatowar (Dibrugarh LS seat) and former Union minister B K Handique (Jorhat LS seat), both of whom are facing a tough challenge from the BJP.
Claiming that the various policies of the Congress had changed the face of the country in the past 10 years, the Prime Minister said, “The Congress has changed the face of the country in the last 10 years. Before you go to cast your vote, just compare us with others and think about the various achievements of the Congress-led government and how these have benefited you.”
Singh however admitted that there was a slump in economic growth in the past two-three years, but said there were indications that things were now heading for better. He also conceded that the Congress government could not arrest price rise.
Singh’s 24-minute speech had nothing new for the people of his “adopted home state”. He however said the Assam gas cracker project coming up near Dibrugarh would create a lot of job opportunities and that a new BG railway line in northern Assam and completion of the Bogibeel bridge across Brahmaputra would accelerate economic activities.
None of the major burning problems of Assam — like recurring floods, threat to Kaziranga rhinos and inter-state boundary problems — found a place in the prime minister’s speech.