Budget is ‘revolutionary’, Sonia says at Nagaland rally

March 1st, 2008 - 5:48 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi
Dimapur, March 1 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Saturday called the union budget “historic and revolutionary” while addressing a massive election rally here in Nagaland. “We must thank the prime minister and the finance minister for deciding to waive bank loans to the tune of Rs.600 billion (for farmers). This budget is not only historic but revolutionary as well,” Gandhi said.

Elections to the 60-member Nagaland legislature are scheduled for May 5. Attired in a traditional tribal dress with a headgear, Gandhi harped on the theme of stability and peace while asking people to vote for the Congress.

“The last five years in Nagaland witnessed instability and was marked by an increase in killings and violence. Youths were made to believe that their aspirations could be fulfilled only through the barrel of the gun,” the head of India’s ruling coalition told some 20,000 supporters.

She said the Congress was committed to working for the overall development of the northeast.

“Stability and peace are the two prerequisites for development. It is the Congress that can provide stability coupled with development,” Gandhi said.

The Nagaland Peoples Front (NPF), the dominant partner in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-backed Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government in Nagaland that ruled the state until President’s rule was imposed in January, is fighting the elections alone this time.

“The Congress stands for secularism and we are the only party that can cater to the needs of the people,” she said.

The Congress is locked in a straight fight with the regional challenger NPF.

The NPF is contesting in 56 seats while the Congress has put up candidates in all 60 seats.

The BJP has put up candidates in 23 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party in eight seats and the Rashtriya Janata Dal in 26.

A new regional outfit, the Nagaland Legislative Democratic Party, formed by a few breakaway BJP leaders, has also joined the race.

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