Those who divide society cannot fight terrorism: Sonia (Second Lead)February 8th, 2009 - 7:35 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) Accusing the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party of not supporting the government in the aftermath of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday said those who want to divide society cannot fight terrorism.
Addressing a massive gathering of the party’s district unit chiefs and grassroots workers here, she said that during the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime, “we had stood by the government during the terror attacks. But the same thing cannot be said about the BJP. They disturbed parliament, and delayed formation of important laws regarding fighting terrorism.”
Making a reference to the BJP’s reiteration of commitment to build a Ram temple in Ayodhya, Gandhi said: “Those who want to divide society, create polarisation on the basis of religion and use the name of Lord Ram are against religion and cannot fight terrorism.”
She also had a message for Pakistan.
“Terrorism is a big challenge and I want to tell people across the border that they should not mistake our calmness as our weakness, they would be given a befitting answer. We have to fight this (terrorism) unitedly.”
She asked Congressmen to work unitedly for the party’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections slated for April-May.
“Whenever the Congress has lost, it is not only because of the opposition but because of internal disputes. We have to place the party before ourselves and work for the development and growth of society and country.”
Signalling how the party would use the youth cadre, she said: “Today we have to use the experience of senior leaders and the energy of youth. We have many youth in the party, many get the benefit of family background, but many do not. We have to provide opportunity to youth from every section of society.”
Detailing the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government’s programmes during the past five years, she said workers must highlight these during the election campaign.
“Five years ago, we went to the people on the basis of our pledges. Now, we go to them on the strength of our performance. The aam admi (common man) has been the overriding force of our economic policy. We have worked towards the welfare of farmers, the empowerment of women and welfare of weaker sections.”
“We want people to reaffirm faith in the Congress. We are ready, we are prepared, we are confident,” Gandhi told the gathering at the Ramlila Ground.
She said the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme has been very effective and was “historic”. “It is improving the lives of the poorest sections,” she said.
The Right to Information Act has made administration transparent, accountable and enabled participation of people, and the mid-day meal scheme was providing nourishment to children and making going to school more attractive.
The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was providing education to children, while the National Rural Health Mission had made healthcare more accessible, she said.
Gandhi said every state, including those ruled by the NDA, had received “unprecedented funding” for developmental activities, which was unlike when the NDA was in power, taking a swipe at the opposition.
She also detailed the government’s loan waiver scheme and other welfare schemes for people.
Referring to the global economic crisis, Gandhi said: “The world is now going through a recession. There is no room for complacency, but India is demonstrating resilience. This is because of the measures that we have taken.”
Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan read out a message from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who said the UPA has tried to fulfil all promises it made in 2004 when it came to power.
The entire Congress hierarchy at the centre and from the states, along with all chief ministers and central ministers, attended the meet.
District and block presidents of the Congress from all over the country also expressed their views, suggestions and problems that they face at the ground level.
Tags: aftermath, alliance government, ayodhya, bjp, calmness, congress president sonia gandhi, congressmen, family background, fighting terrorism, internal disputes, lok sabha elections, lord ram, national democratic alliance, New Delhi, progressive alliance, ram temple, reiteration, terror attacks, terrorist attacks, unit chiefs