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Cong alone can tackle terror: Sonia
Anita Katyal
Our Political Correspondent

New Delhi, February 8
Congress president Sonia Gandhi today set the tone for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with a twin attack against Pakistan and the BJP even as she urged party cadres to propagate the UPA government’s achievements in their poll campaign.

Equally candid in her remarks on the internal functioning of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi ticked off the rank and file for pulling in different directions, stating that it is not the Opposition but its own workers who are invariably responsible for defeating the party in elections. Underlining the need for putting up a united front in the tough electoral battle ahead, she reminded workers to place party interests above self-interest.

Well aware that most state units like Uttar Pradesh are opposed to electoral alliances, Sonia Gandhi explained these are necessary in some cases but this should not discourage workers from strengthening the party organisation.

After appropriating the BJP’s terror plank with its continuous tough talk on the subject, Sonia Gandhi’s address to party’s district and block presidents today focused at length on the saffron party’s divisive agenda which, she said, had caused “grave damage” to the country’s secular polity and economy. “Theirs is a voice of polarisation, of division, of hatred,” she said.

A day after BJP president Rajnath Singh raked up the Ram temple issue in his speech at his party conclave in Nagpur, Congress was quick to hit back, saying the BJP party was “misleading” people in the name of Lord Ram. Having always been at the receiving end for being soft on terror, the Congress is now going all-out to emphasise that it is the only party which is capable of battling terrorism because it has the support of all sections of society unlike the BJP which only makes political capital out of terrorism. “Those who mobilise people on religious lines, mislead people in the name of Ram cannot become an effective force against terror,” stated Sonia. Continuing with her attack against Pakistan, the Congress president warned that those abetting terrorism in India from across the borders will be given a “befitting reply” citing Indira Gandhi as their inspiration, adding that New Delhi’s “restraint” should not be misconstrued as weakness by its neighbours. Responding to the BJP accusation that the Congress was not tough in its handling of terrorism because it wanted to appease the minorities, Sonia Gandhi asserted that the UPA government will tackle this problem without any discrimination.

Detailing the Congress-led UPA government’s programmes for farmers, minorities, women and weaker sections, the party president urged workers to propagate these achievements in their election campaign and underlined that the ruling coalition has kept the common man, as the focus of its economic policy during the past five years. Sounding an aggressive and confident note, she said, “We are ready, we are prepared, we are confident to face the Lok Sabha elections.”

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