Congress firm on tackling terrorism: Rahul Gandhi (Lead)

November 17th, 2008 - 9:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyRaipur, Nov 17 (IANS) Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Monday said the Congress was determined to fight terrorists, and rejected the charge that the central government was going soft on terrorism. “They (Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance) accuse the Congress of being soft on terrorism but it’s not true, we always fought it strongly,” Gandhi told an election rally Monday evening at state capital, Raipur.

“The Congress has never done and it can never do what the NDA did, one of its ministers took a terrorist to Kandahar airport and greeted them with folded hands,” the young Congress MP said.

He made the comments in an obvious reference to the hijack of an Indian Airlines plane in 1999 during the NDA regime and the then external affairs minister Jaswant Singh flyiing a group of five jailed terrorists to Kandahar in exchange for the release of the 180 passengers taken hostage on the aircraft.

Earlier in the day, at another election rally at Ambikapur town in the state’s northern Sarguja district, Gandhi appealed to the people of Chhattisgarh to vote out the “corrupt” BJP government and ensure the state’s development.

“The present government is corrupt and in five years of its rule it has done nothing for the people. Development has completely been blocked, while the conditions of tribals have worsened,” he said.

The town is the headquarters of Surguja district, some 350 km from state capital Raipur.

“The BJP deserves to be defeated. The central government is providing Rs.80 billion to this state annually, but the amount is not reaching the people,” he claimed.

The Monday tour of Rahul Gandhi was his third visit to the state. He addressed two public meetings Nov 10 and two more rallies Nov 12.

The Chhattisgarh assembly has a total of 90 seats. Voters in 51 constituencies go to polls Nov 20. In the 39 constituencies, mostly in Maoist-affected areas of the state, voting was completed on Nov 14.

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