Congress president Sonia Gandhi said here on Wednesday that the 2014 parliamentary election was crucial for the country and different from earlier elections as it was a clash of ideologies represented by the “unifying” Congress and the “divisive” BJP.

Addressing a well-attended public rally at the Maharaja’s College Grounds here, she said the voters had to decide what kind of India they wanted for the future — the one led by the Congress professing belief in secular principles and inclusive growth, which united the country, or the BJP with its divisive nature of communalism.

Ms. Gandhi said the Congress believed and dreamed of a new and modern India and not a society steeped in obscurantism as reflected in the ideology of the BJP.

“The choice is between the Congress which believes in the Ganga-Jamuna culture that unites the country and the BJP which does not believe in cultural plurality or composite culture of India,” she said.

“The BJP is seeking votes in the name of one person who does not believe in India’s composite culture or its unity in diversity, while the Janata Dal (Secular), though it professes to be secular, does not hesitate to compromise on its principles in pursuit of power,” said Ms. Gandhi.

She referred to the 10 years of UPA rule and said the country had registered great progress and growth never achieved in the past in various sectors and claimed that the Congress always supported the farmers and extended facilities and loans that helped them shore up food production to record heights. “It is because of the farmers that the country is self-sufficient in food and the Congress has been able to pass the Food Security Bill,” she added.

The 10 years of UPA rule also saw an improvement in urban infrastructure, while the education sector received special impetus and witnessed rapid growth like never before, said Ms. Gandhi.

‘Loot of resources’

Kolar Staff Correspondent writes:

Ms. Gandhi, while addressing a rally at Sir M. Visvesvaraya District Stadium here, said the previous BJP rule in Karnataka saw rampant corruption and loot of natural resources, and that the Congress after coming to power in the State last year was bringing back the administration on the right track.

Ms. Gandhi listed a number of schemes such as MNREGA, Right to Education Act and Right to Information Act as achievements of the UPA government.

“Congress will practice what it says,” she said.

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