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PM, Sonia hit out at detractors at Congress show of strength

Sunday November 04, 2012 04:29:25 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Buffeted by charges of corruption against its government, the Congress put up a massive show of strength at a rally here Sunday with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi hitting back at detractors and asserting that the recent slew of economic reforms will benefit the country and create more jobs.

Addressing the Congress party's rally at the Ramlila Maidan here, the prime minister said the move to allow foreign investment in multi brand retail and hiking diesel prices in the face of much opposition were aimed at ushering in faster economic reforms that "will help the country to progress and earn more money to launch welfare schemes to help the poor people."

He said the economic reforms were needed to create more jobs. "People are being misled about our recent economic decisions," he said.

Reiterating his Sep 21 speech to the nation after the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government decided to to open up the economy to multi-brand retail trade, the prime minister said that FDI was beneficial for farmers and would not hurt small traders. The Trinamool Congress had walked out of the UPA government on Sep 21 over the move while its ally the Samajwadi Party has also voiced concern over the move.

Taking on the opposition, including the anti-corruption activists for attacking the government and party over alleged corruption, Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday challenged them saying the truth and untruth in their charges needs to be understood well.

"The opposition is levelling several allegations of corruption against the government. What is the truth and untruth in these allegations needs to be understood well," Sonia Gandhi said.

"I admit, corruption is a a disease.. But we have fought this disease before and we will continue to fight this disease with all strength once again," an aggressive Sonia Gandhi said.

"We will fight all graft charges against us and none found guilty will be spared," she added.

Indirectly hitting out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari, who has been targeted by the IAC's Arvind Kejriwal for alleged financial impropriety in the running of his Purti Group, she said: "Those who are talking about corruption are finding themselves neck-deep in corruption."

She also slammed the opposition for "trying to weaken the democratic institutions and roots" of the country.

Sonia Gandhi attacked the opposition for not allowing key legislation to be passed or discussed in parliament. The BJP had stalled the monsoon session of parliament over alleged irregularities the coal blocks allocations issue.

Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi, who is expected to be anointed the party's number two in a major reorganisational move, strongly attacked opposition parties for "lying" to farmers about foreign investment in multi-brand retail.

Rahul Gandhi said that FDI would bring in cold storage facilities and food processing centres to farmers, ensuring more profits to them.

"The opposition parties have been lying about the FDI policy to farmers, particularly in Himachal Pradesh," he said without naming the BJP. Himachal Pradesh went to the polls Sunday to elect a new state assembly.

He also touched upon the anti-corruption movement in the country, saying it was the UPA government of the last eight years that brought in administrative transparency through the Right to Information Act in 2005 through which people could get any information from the government.

The rally in the heart of the capital was projected as a show of political strength by a beleaguered party that is under all-round attack, especially with national elections due in 2014.

It was attended by Congress ministers, chief ministers, state unit chiefs, heads of block and district units, MPs, legislators and leaders of the party's frontal organisations.

While the crowd number was put at hundreds of thousands, Congress leader Digvijay Singh tweeted before the rally began that :"More than 500,000 people have come for Rally." New Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor tweeted: "Looks like we have about 300,000 people here. Enthusiastic crowd!."







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