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Sonia lauds Punjabis’ valour
Promises clean governance
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress, mingles with fans at Pathankot where she had gone to address a meeting in favour of Congress candidate Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder on Sunday.
Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress, mingles with fans at Pathankot where she had gone to address a meeting in favour of Congress candidate Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder on Sunday. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma

Pathankot, May 2
Continuing her efforts to woo the minorities, Ms Sonia Gandhi, President, Indian National Congress, in her 20-minute carefully worded speech today eulogised the contribution of Punjabis to the freedom struggle, in bringing about the Green and White Revolutions, apart from safeguarding the country from foreign aggressions.

Addressing her first “jan sampark abhiyan” in Punjab in favour of Congress candidate Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, here today, Ms Gandhi said a secular regime was vital for maintaining communal harmony and integrity of the country, which could be provided by the Congress “At the time of pressing the button of electronic voting machine, you must keep in mind that you will lay the foundation of a stronger India and for the better future of your children by giving votes in favour of Congress candidates”.

Attired in off-white printed sari, Ms Gandhi acknowledged the greetings from the gathering by waving her hands from the dais. Later, throwing security norms to winds, Ms Gandhi tried to intermingle with the people after climbing down from the stage. Earlier, Ms Gandhi sent Ms Ambika Soni to bring Mr Ashwani Kumar and Mr R.L. Bhatia, members of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha, respectively, who were stopped by the security personnel from reaching the dais.

Ms Gandhi was projected as the future Prime Minister by Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister and Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, in their respective brief speeches .

Lauding the valour of Punjabis, Ms Gandhi said they had been torch-bearers in all fields and had made country self-sufficient in agriculture, apart from making supreme sacrifices during the freedom struggle. She said the country was proud of Punjabis who fought on all fronts to protect the nation from internal and external threats. “Their contribution forms a golden leaf in the Indian history and the countrymen would always remain indebted to them for times to come”.

Expressing her satisfaction on the return of peace and tranquility in Punjab, she said Punjabis had expressed their full faith in forming the party by electing the congress government during the previous assembly elections. Lamenting the ‘anti-people’ policies of the SAD-BJP combine during their five-year rule she said leadership of both the parties had fooled the masses. Now Punjabis had understood that only the Congress could give a clean government, she said.

Firing a salvo at the BJP-led National Democratic Government, Ms Gandhi alleged that instead of giving clean government as promised in the election manifesto it gave birth to scams of all sorts. The scams raged from coffin scandal to Tehelka.

Ridiculing the BJP’s ‘India shining’ slogan, Ms Gandhi claimed that the legendry Congress leaders like Mr Jawaharlal Nehru had laid the foundation for a stronger India. She said the IT revolution and other achievements being claimed by the NDA could not have been possible had previous Congress governments not taken initiatives in this regard. She alleged that during her roadshows in different constituencies of the country, she had gathered that common man in the streets have not derived anything from the good factor.

Reiterating her commitment for giving a secular governance, Ms Gandhi said her party was above the “narrow thinking” and believed that secularism encompassed all religions. Making an oblique reference to the NDA, Ms Sonia Gandhi said some parties form alliances for coming to power only. However, Congress struggle was an ideological battle. “This is our legacy. And this is the legacy of Punjab, too that we are against all types of communalism”, she said .

In a bid to woo the women, Dalits, farmers and traders, Ms Gandhi promised that after the formation of the Congress government in the Centre she would personally serve them by providing clean governance. Ms Gandhi said she knew that Punjabi women were more progressive and would vote for the party which would give them a clean governance.

Capt Amarinder Singh announced that he would spend whole day in the Gurdaspur constituency on May 6. He had to announce this in presence of Ms Gandhi as she had reportedly got reports that the conspicuous absence of Capt Amarinder Singh on April 21 at the time of the filing of nomination papers had sent a wrong signal among the voters.


Sonia Gandhi’s motorcade flouts code
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 2
Ms Sonia Gandhi, president, Indian National Congress mentioned the name of Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, Punjab twice in her 20-minute speech, Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister and Mr H.S. Hanspal, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, skipped her name while addressing the election rally here today.

Meanwhile, in violation of model code of conduct, big hoardings to welcome Ms Gandhi were put up on a government buildings adjoining the venue of the rally.

The cavalcade of Ms Sonia Gandhi starting from the local airport exceeded the limit of vehicles fixed by the Election Commission.Back

Even VIPs had to walk
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 2
Elaborate security arrangements were made during the visit of the Congress President Ms Sonia Gandhi, who adddressed a big election rally in favour of the Congress candidate Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, contesting elections from the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency at Sailli Road’s Truck Union ground here today.

She was scheduled to address the rally at 11 a.m. but reached at 12.30 p.m.

The police had raised barricades to stop people from entering the ground without a security check. Metal detector doors were installed to check persons to avoid any untoward incidents.

Traffic had been diverted from the Sailli byepass road to the Jammu road to stop vehicles from entering the city. Commuters had to go to Nalwa bridge covering a distance of more than 3 km to reach their destination.Back



Lok Jan Shakti backs Cong

Rohtak, May 2
The Lok Jan Shakti Party has asked its all nominees for various Lok Sabha seats to withdraw in favour of Congress nominees.

In a statement issued here today Capt Shamsher Singh Malik, President of the Haryana unit of the party said the party high command had taken this decision. He said the LJP candidates and their supporters would work for the Congress nominees. — TNSBack

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