Time to show we are Indians first: PM

December 1st, 2008 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghJaipur, Dec 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday urged people to rise above divisions of caste and religion and stand united as Indians and promised that his government would leave no stone unturned to fight terrorism.”This is the time to show that whether we are from any state, whether we speak any language or whether we are of any religion… we are first Indians,” Singh told a select gathering in the Rajasthan capital as part of the Congress party’s poll campaign ahead of state assembly elections Thursday.

“Today I want to promise that the union government would not leave any stone unturned in our fight against terrorism,” the prime minister asserted.

He also urged all political parties to unite in the war against terror.

“I appeal to the citizens and political parties to support us in this fight and to maintain peace and law and order in the country,” Singh said.

Turning to the global financial crisis, the prime minister said that India would not be as badly hit as other economies.

“This (the economic crisis) started from Western countries and would impact the whole world to an extent,” he said.

Singh noted that India too would be affected by the crunch that has seen several Western countries slipping into recession. But he added that India’s growth rate would not be affected as much as other countries due to several measures taken by the central government.

“We have taken timely steps to counter the economic challenges,” he said.

Singh added that efforts have been made to ensure that our exports, industries and credit availability are minimally affected by the crisis.

The prime minister, who will be holding the finance portfolio after P. Chidambaram was given charge of the home ministry in the wake of the Mumbai terror strikes, said that the recently released last quarter statistics showed that our economy had grown by 7.6 percent.

He hoped that despite the global challenges, India would be able to maintain a growth rate somewhere near 7.5 percent in 2008-09.

“In the present difficult circumstances we need a government that understands the economic issues and the Congress is the only party that has experience to deal with these complex economic issues,” the prime minister said.

He also highlighted various steps being taken by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)government for the benefit of farmers, whom he termed as the backbone of the nation.

Slamming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, Singh said that there have been allegations of the government indulging in wasteful expenditure like buying planes, helicopters and expensive cars.

He also pointed out that the BJP government had promised to provide 24-hour power supply in the state’s urban areas and eight hours of electricity in rural areas when it came to power, but these promises have remained unfulfilled.

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