"We fared much better than many countries in tiding over the economic crisis"

Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Sunday dispelled any impression that her party and the government were having second thoughts on the FDI issue and stressed that the country needed a large dose of investment, of which FDI was a part, to boost growth and employment: close to 100 lakh youths entered the job market every year. Praising the Prime Minister’s role at a time when the world was witnessing economic distress, she said India had fared much better than many countries.

Addressing a massive rally on the Ramlila Grounds here, Ms. Gandhi said corruption was a cancer that affected the poor the most, and declared that whoever was found guilty would not be spared. But that did not stop her from attacking the BJP without mentioning the party: “There is a well ready for those who dig ditches for others,” she said, using a Hindi proverb in an apparent reference to the graft charges that BJP president Nitin Gadkari is facing.

Ms. Gandhi credited the UPA government with enacting the Right to Information law to bring transparency and check corruption: such a law, she said, could be brought only by those who wanted to eradicate corruption. That was also the reason why the government had brought in the Lokpal Bill, but the BJP did not allow it to be passed in the Rajya Sabha.

For Congress Chief Ministers, it was an occasion to demonstrate their efficiency: if Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit as the host ensured everything went off smoothly, it was Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda — under fire in recent weeks on issues stretching from corruption to the rape and killing of Dalit girls in his State — who was the winner. He turned the Ramlila Grounds into a sea of pink — all his supporters sported turbans in that celebratory colour, to which he drew attention by referring to them as Sonia Gandhi’s gulabi sena (the pink army) in his speech.

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