Invoking Mahatma Gandhi's legacy on his death anniversary, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said here on Thursday that the party believed in cherishing the Indian tradition of secular thought and wanted development for all the sections of society.
"The Congress has always wanted all the sections to develop. The struggle of Dalits, Adivasis, Backward Classes, minorities and women is also the party's struggle," she said in her address at a rally after the inauguration of a centre of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
"The country is going through a crucial phase. We have to decide are we going to take everyone together on the path of development or take a myopic view," Ms. Gandhi said.
With a firm welfare agenda, the UPA had given the Right to Information Act, Food Security Act and the Right to Education Act. In the area of education, the government was making efforts to impart modern education in the madarasa, she added.
"The Muslim community has also benefitted for the UPA's development programmes. The Centre has also accepted the recommendations of the Sachar Committee report," Ms. Gandhi said.
In an indirect attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress president identified communalism as the "biggest challenge."
While the Congress was working towards strengthening India's secular tradition, there was another thought process that wanted to divide society along communal lines and spark violence. "We have to be alert to such forces," she said.
The United Progressive Alliance government made all efforts to develop Bihar, despite being out of power in the State. However, it was the State government's responsibility to implement schemes in a timely and transparent manner. In the last 10 years, the Prime Minister has given over Rs. 1.34 lakh crore to Bihar, she said.
Earlier, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dismissed the Centre's assisstance to AMU. In the wake of a controversy over not being invited for the inauguration, Mr. Kumar attended the event after receiving a delayed invite.
He said the Centre's funds of Rs. 137 crore for AMU was "a drop in the ocean."
"The State government has given Rs. 1,000 crore for Agriculture University in Kishanganj. In addition, we also made land available for AMU," he said.
M.M. Pallam Raju, Union Human Resources Development Minister was present at the inauguration and the rally.