Breaking her silence on the controversies surrounding the preparations for the Commonwealth Games (CWG),Congress president Sonia Gandhi today reminded people of the prestige of the nation and urged them to ensure the success of the Games. She maintained that allegations of malpractices would be looked into after the Games and anyone found involved would not be spared.
Addressing a meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party general body,Gandhi also touched upon the row over the Bhopal gas leak disaster case although she refrained from addressing the central issue regarding the role of then Congress governments at the Centre and in Madhya Pradesh in the release of Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson.
On the Bhopal gas tragedy,I am the first to acknowledge that there have been inadequacies in how successive governments have dealt with this calamity. But we cannot remain prisoners of the past. We must look ahead and answer the question,what can we do now,rather than what could we have done in the past, Gandhi said,adding that the Group of Ministers had prepared a detailed agenda for action. Not a single victim should be denied justice. Equally important is the necessity to put systems in place that will ensure no Bhopal-type man-made catastrophe repeats itself.
On the Games,she said this was the time for all of us to come together and ensure its success. The success of the Games is that of our country,not of any party or of any individual. The Prime Minister has himself intervened decisively. The prestige of the nation is involved. Let us not forget this even as we take steps to ensure accountability. I trust that as soon as the Games are over,the government will look into allegations of malpractice and spare no one found to be involved in them, she said.
Backing the Prime Ministers blueprint for reconciliation and reconstruction in Kashmir stemming from a desire to engage the people of the state,Gandhi said she was anguished by what was happening there and it was a call to our collective conscience. She said that reaching out to the people of the state,particularly the youth,was the need of the hour.
A whole generation has grown up under the shadow of brutality and conflict. The anger and pain that is manifesting itself,especially among the young,needs to be addressed. They are our very own and their suffering is ours. Dialogue and mutual understanding are the key to ending the cycle of violence and tragic killings. Our security forces have a difficult task to discharge, she said.
Terming the emergence of illegal mining as the most serious menace in a number of states with profound political,economic and social implications,the Congress chief said the government was taking a number of initiatives like the setting up of a commission of inquiry and a mining regulatory authority.
What is most worrying,she said,is the high degree of convergence between areas that are mineral and forest-rich and areas that are arenas for tribal deprivation and left-wing extremist violence.
Protecting the rights of the tribals and ensuring their livelihood are central to bringing about an end to their exploitation and sense of alienation. Dealing with the Naxalite challenge,which the Prime Minister has described as our single biggest internal security challenge,will call for fundamental innovations in the manner in which our mineral resources are exploited and our forests are managed, Gandhi said.