Sonia terms Advani ’slave of RSS’ (Lead)

April 15th, 2009 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Margao/Bangalore, April 15 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday called the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial aspirant L.K. Advani a “slave of the Rashtriya Swayamsevek Sangh (RSS)” and accused him of making “ulta-sidha” (wild) statements.
“People know who function as slaves of the RSS,” Gandhi said at an election rally in Bidar, around 670 km from Bangalore, as the election rhetoric got sharper on the eve of the first round of balloting.

“I ask: Advaniji is making ‘ulta-seedha’ (wild) statements against Manmohan Singh. Does he take any decision independently without (an) RSS nod,” she asked in Hindi.

Gandhi referred to Advani describing founder of Pakistan M.A. Jinnah as a secular person and virtually retracting the statement under pressure from the RSS in 2005. “What did the strong leader do? He retracted,” she taunted.

The Congress chief and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson was all praise for Manmohan Singh.

The BJP talks of tackling terrorism but people know during whose rule the parliament attack (of 2001) took place and who escorted terrorists as guests to Kandahar (in 1999), Gandhi said.

“We do not scream or shout. We act, work.

“Because of the determined action our government took, Pakistan had to admit its role in the Mumbai terror attack,” Gandhi asserted.

Addressing an election rally near Margao in South Goa later in the day, Gandhi reiterated her criticism of Advani and said the former deputy prime minister was all big talk and bluster and paled when compared to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when it came to effective administration.

“Advani himself can do nothing without touching the feet of the RSS. The BJP does not move with the blessings of the Sangh,” she said in an unusually combative tone on the eve of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections.

“What constitutional authority does the RSS have to give orders and interfere in governance?” she asked.

Referring to the major terrorist attacks during the rule of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Gandhi said: “The BJP sent nearly 800,000 troopers to the border during Operation Parakram (in the aftermath of the 2001 parliament attack).

“What was the end result of all this action? After the Mumbai attacks, our prime minister launched a diplomatic offensive, which forced Pakistan to admit for the first time ever about the involvement of its citizens in the attacks.”

Gandhi said the tenets that BJP represents standd against the very idea of India.

“The BJP’s agenda is to spread hatred amongst people of different communities and polarise them. You have seen what they have done in Orissa and Gujarat,” she said.

“When the BJP is in power, minorities and citizens lives in fear. Things come to a standstill. Terrorism only thrives in such circumstances. Can the central government be led by such a party?” she asked.

Gandhi further promised to look into the demand for special status for Goa in order to maintain its unique identity and also said that the Congress would work hard at saving the homes of thousands of fisherfolk, which are scheduled to be demolished for violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

Sitting Congress MP from South Goa Francisco Sardinha will take on BJP’s first time contestant Narendra Savoikar, when Goa goes to polls on April 23.

Earlier in Karnataka, Gandhi defended the civilian nuclear deal with the US, saying it would help provide electricity to every village in the country.

Gandhi said the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Rs.81,000 crore farm loan waiver, mid-day meal scheme for school children and scholarship for poorer sections of society were some of the achievements of the UPA government.

“These are some of the historic measures taken by the UPA government under the leadership of Manmohan Singh,” she said.

Former Congress chief minister N. Dharam Singh is contesting from Bidar, which is among the 17 of the 28 constituencies going to polls April 23 - the second of the five-phase Lok Sabha elections. Voting in the 11 other constituencies will take place in the third round April 30.

Gandhi addressed another rally at Chikkodi, also in north Karnataka in her second visit to the state for election campaign.

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