Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday launched another scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party whose acts, she said, were threatening the democratic fabric of the country.
Addressing a rally at Bhatgaon town in Chhattisgarh, she said: “The BJP is crossing all limits to capture power in this election. Their behaviour is extremely dangerous for the democratic set-up in our country. Elections will come and go but the way they are doing things and lying to the people will hamper democracy.”
Without naming the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Ms. Gandhi cautioned the people that no democracy could be safe in the hands of one man.
Applauding the United Progressive Alliance government for “taking decisions for the betterment of all sections,” the UPA chairperson claimed that no other government had done so much welfare work.
Criticising the BJP regime’s “failure” to protect people in Chhattisgarh, Ms. Gandhi said the Centre provided thousands of crores but the State government did not utilise the funds for them. Why did the people have to migrate to other States when the Centre provided thousands of crores to Chhattisgarh for works under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme? she asked.
“We brought the Land Acquisition Act to protect tribals from land displacement but in Chhattisgarh their land is being snatched away,” The State government failed to confer rights on tribals, Ms. Gandhi told the crowd.
Slams Chouhan regime
Addressing a rally in the opium belt of Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh, she criticised the Shivraj Chouhan regime too of misusing Central funds. She told the crowd that the Chouhan regime had not bothered to disburse the Central relief of Rs. 419 crores for crop loss due to rain and hail. “The Centre gave more money to the State than the NDA government.”
“One can imagine the kind of money senior officers and Ministers must have amassed when raids on junior staff have yielded crores of illegal wealth.” Ms. Gandhi assured opium cultivators of protection against international fluctuations and also promised special attention to nomadic groups in the region bordering Rajasthan.
Incumbent MP Meenakshi Natarajan of the Congress faces a three-cornered fight in Mandsaur constituency with the BJP’s Sudhir Gupta and Aam Aadmi Party’s Paras Saklecha, a former MLA.
Mr. Chouhan also addressed a rally in Mandsaur where he accused Ms. Gandhi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi of being ignorant about agriculture and of enforcing anti-farmer policies. “The mother and son don’t know if onions grow above or below the earth. Once the BJP comes to power we will end the laws that pushed opium cultivators into distress,” he said.
After protests by farmers earlier this year, the Centre raised barriers on imported poppy seeds. India is the world’s only legal producer of raw opium in gum form, cultivation of which is concentrated in the Neemuch-Mandsaur belt.