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She will tell media on July 1: Cong
Prove it: Pratibha

New Delhi, June 28
UPA presidential candidate Pratibha Patil, who is in the eye of a series of controversies over various issues ever since her nomination, today dared the Opposition and the media to come out with proof for their allegations against her.

“Those who are attacking me for my role in the management of cooperative banks in Maharashtra cannot substantiate their charges,” she said.

Patil firmly denied ever having chaired banks which are said to have advanced loans to her relatives.

“Let them come out with proof if this is not the case,” she said in an interview to Hindi weekly Outlook.

Moreover, nobody was talking about those two relatives who had repaid the loan along with interest, she said.

When asked about her reported statement regarding population control, the UPA presidential nominee said there were no two opinions in the country on the urgent need to control the population.

“When I talked about limiting the size of the family, I did so in view of its direct bearing on the health of the mother. Everybody knows that women suffering with serious illness face a serious risk to their life if they get pregnant and deliver a child. The health of their child too is at great risk,” she said.

On her religious beliefs and secularism, she said secularism does not exclude religion. It only meant that one’s religious beliefs would not come in one's way of getting equal rights as citizen.

“And unless we are true to our own religion, we cannot respect others’ right to follow theirs,” Patil added.

Replying to a question, she said empowerment of women and development of rural areas were her priorities.

She said that when she was made a cabinet minister in Maharashtra and asked about her preference regarding portfolio, she had opted for social welfare.

Patil said that all through her long political career she had never cared for any post, but tried to sincerely fulfil the responsibilities given to her by the people and the Congress party. — UNI

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