PM slams Left, Sonia attacks Right (Political Roundup)

May 1st, 2009 - 10:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) A day after the third phase of Election 2009, the political slugfest continued with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday launching a stinging attack on the Left in its bastion of West Bengal and Congress president Sonia Gandhi taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan.
Speaking at a rally in Howrah in West Bengal, Manmohan Singh said West Bengal “lags behind because of the Left’s policies”, echoing the words of Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul who had been sharp in their criticism of the Left Front, which has ruled the state since 1977 and for four years propped up the central government till last year.

West Bengal, which went to polls in the third phase, will also have balloting in the last two phases. Rajasthan goes to polls in a single round in the fourth phase - May 7.

Sonia Gandhi launched a frontal attack on the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Rajasthan’s Sriganganagar. Braving a searing temperature of mid-40 degrees Celsius and hot winds, Gandhi at a poll rally termed the previous NDA government period as “an era of darkness”.

The prime minister, in an obvious reference to the communists’ opposition to many of the UPA government’s policies, said the Left had not kept “pace with the time”. “Their stand on a lot of issues has not kept pace with time… I advice them to change their thoughts to remain on par with the needs of the time.”

Addressing an election meeting at Dumurjala, 12 km from Kolkata, Manmohan Singh pointed out that the Left in their document has named the Congress 24 times for criticism, quipping: “They forget that they supported the Congress for four years.”

Making an attempt to strike a personal chord with the state, he said: “I have personally taken interest in Bengal’s development programmes. I came to Bengal seven times during my tenure. I regularly reviewed development work in the state… whenever the state government and the chief minister sought help, we obliged them happily,” he said.

He urged people to give the Congress-Trinamool combine a chance. “We will work better than the Left,” he assured.

He also charged the Left with helping the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections by dividing secular votes. “In a way they are helping the BJP in these elections by dividing the secular votes,” he said.

Attacking the Third Front, led by the Left parties, he said the conglomeration has no chance of coming to power. “The Third Front parties do not have any programme. Their single point programme is to thoughtlessly oppose every work done by the Congress.”

The Third Front came under attack from Sonia Gandhi too at her rally at Sriganganagar in Rajasthan. She said the Third Front parties were aligned neither to the NDA nor to the Congress-led UPA. She reiterated her charge that the Third Front’s “sole aim is to grab power”. The Third Front leaders were “power hungry and least bothered for welfare of the country and people”, she charged.

Charging the NDA with spreading communal hatred, she said, “NDA’s rule was devoted to spreading hatred in the name of religion and caste and poisoning the society”. She added that the “country’s borders were unsafe during the period”.

The UPA was the target of attack by BJP mascot and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking at a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Kannauj district, he raked up the issue of illegal Bangladeshi migrants.

He accused the Congress-led UPA government of not taking any concrete steps to check infiltration from across the border. “The country is heading towards slavery, following the UPA’s dilly-dallying over illegal cross-border migration from Bangladesh,” Modi said.

“Taking advantage of the government’s inefficiency, after Assam, now the Bangladeshis are moving freely towards other states of the country,” added Modi.

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