Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that vote for the Congress at the Centre and in the State alone will ensure all-round development and prosperity of the new State of Telangana.

“Present juncture is crucial for Telangana and you have a crucial responsibility on hand. It is a very big responsibility as it alone would decide the policies and programmes of the new government. This will lay the road for how much development will take place in the new State,” Mr. Singh said addressing an election rally in this parliamentary constituency of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.

‘Credit goes to Sonia’

Dr. Singh referred to the UPA government’s contribution, particularly that of his party in carving out a separate State of Telangana. He also devoted considerable time to praise AICC president Sonia Gandhi’s commitment in overcoming hurdles created by the opposition parties and going ahead with the bifurcation process in Parliament.

Dr. Singh praised the struggle and sacrifice of the people of the region and exuded confidence that fulfilment of the decades- old aspiration would pave the way for development and prosperity of the region. “If the Congress is given an opportunity, it will make Telangana State one of the most developed,” he observed.

The Prime Minister, who arrived 15 minutes ahead of the schedule at the sprawling grounds near Kanuru village, in his 40-minute speech, spoke about the threat from communal forces and the BJP’s attempt at raking up communal hatred.

He went out of the way to counter the charges of corruption levelled against the UPA government and termed it a blatant lie. What stood out in Dr. Singh’s speech was the absence of the top leaders of the Congress from Nalgonda. Barring former Minister K. Jana Reddy, Bhongir Lok Sabha candidate Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy and his brother Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, none from the district bothered to attend the rally. Interestingly, the TPCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah, whose Jangaon assembly constituency falls in the Bhongir parliamentary constituency, too was not present. So was TPCC working president N. Uttam Kumar Redy.

The gathering, which was thin at the beginning of the meeting, swelled as people continued to troop in till Dr. Singh concluded his speech. Hitting out at the BJP, Dr. Singh sought to know whether they would vote a party that was bent on dividing the country of communal lines. “Will you vote for a party that pits one community against the other?” he asked. Dr. Singh concluded his speech by seeking another term for the Congress-led UPA alliance to continue the incomplete development and welfare programmes.

AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh and Union Minister Vayalar Ravi were present.