Vote Congress for strong government, Sonia tells Punjab

May 3rd, 2009 - 6:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Alkesh Sharma

Gurdaspur (Punjab), May 3 (IANS) Taking her attack right into the opposition camp for describing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a “weak PM”, Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday said if people wanted a strong government in the centre, they should vote for the Congress.

Addressing a mammoth rally in this border district of Punjab in support of Congress candidate Pratap Singh Bajwa, Gandhi ridiculed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership for calling others weak when their own leaders kneeled before terrorists in the Kandahar plane hijack episode.

“The Congress has been development oriented. The Indian economy is sound because of the Congress government policies. The Congress has done a lot for farmers and other sections of society,” she said.

“You should know that whenever a non-Congress government has come to power in the centre, it has worked only for personal benefits,” Gandhi said in her address Hindi.

Gandhi said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had effectively led the country in the last five years.

“What others say, that one family runs the government, is not true. We have chosen Dr. Manmohan Singh to lead the next government also. He is strong and capable,” Gandhi said.

Taking on the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government in Punjab, Gandhi said that central funds under various schemes have gone unaccounted.

“This state government will have to reply where all those crores (tens of millions) of rupees have gone,” she said.

She said that certain countries, upset with the progress of the Indian economy, were trying to spread terrorism in the country.

Bajwa, a former Punjab minister, is pitted against BJP candidate and actor Vinod Khanna in the Gurdaspur constituency.

Khanna, who mostly remains in Mumbai, had won this seat in 1998, 1999 and 2004. He faces a tough contest from Bajwa this time.

Gandhi earlier addressed an election meeting in Jalandhar city for Congress candidate Mohinder Singh Kaypee. She also addressed a rally in state capital Chandigarh in favour of union minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Bansal.

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