Sonia Gandhi gets into election mode in Maharashtra

June 19th, 2008 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Shivraj Patil

Pune, June 19 (IANS) United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairman Sonia Gandhi Thurday seemed to have her sights firmly set on the 2009 general election as she highlighted the present government’s achievements, stressing on the farm loan waiver and explaining the fuel price hike was unavoidable, at a farmers’ rally in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district. Adressing a well attended rally at Loni, about 150 km from here, Gandhi said the government was aware of the farming community’s sufferings and considered it “duty-bound” to bail them out. Hence, the decision to waive farm loans was “significant”.

She said the government was forced to hike fuel prices in view of the steep rise in oil prices in the world market. However, the centre had attempted to reduce the burden on the consumer by directing all Congress-ruled states to slash local taxes on petroleum products.

Expressing the commitment of the party and the government to work for the poor, she listed several schemes that have been implemented for women, farmers, minorities and backward sections of society.

She also praised the Democratic Front government in Maharashtra headed by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for doing a “good job” in implementing the party’s policies.

Deshmukh, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, several state ministers and party leaders were present at the rally.

Earlier, Sonia went to Shirdi and offered prayers at the famous shrine of Sai Baba. After the Loni rally, she took off for Mumbai where she will address a meeting of state party delegates later this evening.

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