Member of Rajya Sabha and AICC General Secretary, Oscar Fernandes, said on Wednesday that the elections to the State Assembly would be a forerunner to the Lok Sabha elections, which was due in a year.

Addressing a meeting of the Congress party here, Mr. Fernandes said that the Vice-President of Congress party Rahul Gandhi should take the responsibility of building a modern India just as his great grandfather Pandit Jawharlal Nehru and his father Rajeev Gandhi had done, during the next Parliament elections.

He said surveys conducted by the media had indicated that the Congress would return to power in the State. If the Congress came to power, it should not go the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) way. Mr. Fernandes said that Congress workers should realise that winning or losing elections was secondary. They should be true to the Congress ideology and work for the welfare of the poor people. They should respond to the problems of the people, he said. “There is no greater achievement than making a place for yourselves in the hearts of the people,” he said.

He said that the Congress leaders and workers should stop hankering for positions and follow the example set by the AICC president Sonia Gandhi, who rejected the post of prime minister when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government came to power in 2004.The Congress party’s manifesto had been released by the Union Defence Minister A.K. Anthony. It promised to provide 30 kg of rice to power people at Re. 1 per kg. The manifesto also promised to provide dialysis machines at taluk-level government hospitals and also to provide dialysis service free of cost to the poor. If the Congress party came to power, it would develop Malpe fisheries harbour in a big way, he said.

The meeting was preceded by a padayatra by Congress workers, who waked through Old Taluk Office Road, Diana Circle, Kavi Muddana Road, Service Bus Stand, City Bus Stand, Anjuman Road, Jamiya Masjid Road, Sanskrit College Road before reaching Chittaranjan Circle, the venue of the meeting.

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