Hitting out at the BJP-led opposition for lacking a development agenda,UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said they only knew to “build walls between communities to achieve their selfish ends”.
Addressing rallies at Jamner and Buldana on the second day of the two-day visit to poll-bound Maharashtra,the Congress president promised crop loans at three per cent interest to overcome the agrarian crisis and targeted the Shiv Sena-BJP combine for its track record on the development front.
“They only build walls between communities to achieve their own selfish ends”,she said in her hard-hitting speech at the election rally at Jamner,about 30 Km from Jalgaon.
Describing social harmony as prerequisite for Maharashtra’s accelerated progress,she said,”you (the people) will have to think in which direction you want to take Maharashtra.”
Gandhi said that Congress-NCP government in the state and the UPA at the centre had brought in “historic” schemes like NREGA,which benefited dalits,women and weaker sections the most.
“Did those now in the Opposition waive farm loans when they were in power? Did they take steps to bring in NREGA… No. We brought it. We also brought a law which gave rights (forest land) to tribals. why didn’t they do that. We gave reservation to dalits and women in panchayat raj. why did they not do that. you ask them,” Sonia said.
“Our focus is on weflare of dalits,women and tribals,” she said recalling it was her late husband and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi who had initiated quotas for women in panchayat bodies.
Earlier,addressing her first election rally at Buldana in the Vidarbha region,rattled by a string of suicides by debt-ridden farmers,Sonia promised farm loans for as low as three per cent interest and 25 kg of foodgrains to the poor at Rs three per kg if the Democratic Front was re-elected.
Despite the Congress-NCP government in the state and UPA dispensation at the Centre coming under attack over farmers’ suicides,she lauded the Manmohan Singh government for having waived farm loans of a staggering Rs 71,000 crore to help small and marginal farmers tide over the crisis.
The Congress president asked the electors to vote for the DF nominees as the state’s ruling alliance was pursuing “honest politics of development.”