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Secularism, social justice not mere slogans: Sonia

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POLL MODE: Congress president Sonia Gandhi with tribal women in Kothagudem, Andhra Pradesh, on Friday.
POLL MODE: Congress president Sonia Gandhi with tribal women in Kothagudem, Andhra Pradesh, on Friday.

Staff Reporter

KOTHAGUDEM: Secularism and social justice were not mere election slogans, but they remained the soul and ideology of the Congress, said United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Sounding the party’s election bugle at a mammoth tribal rally she addressed in this coal town on Friday, the AICC president made it clear that the common man – ‘aam admi’ – had remained the focus of the party policies. Empowerment of the tribes, which had been the dream of ‘Indiramma’ (Indira Gandhi), was fulfilled. The Congress had given the Lambada community the status of scheduled tribe.

As she made a direct appeal to the crowds in Telugu calling upon them to vote for the hand symbol, the tribes, mainly women, roared back in approval.

The plight of peasants in Andhra Pradesh five years ago was a grim reminder and often still “makes me sad,” she said. The Congress worked for the welfare of the farmers and revival of their dwindled fortunes.

It reached out to them with loan waiver and a host of measures. Over 2.25 lakh farmers were benefited by loan waiver in Khammam district alone and the Indira Sagar and Rajiv Sagar lifts taken up in the district would help irrigate over four lakh acres.

While the government could ensure equal access to education and healthcare to all sections, Opposition parties were raising a hue and cry in the media over Congress policies and programmes. But they had no face to go to the people and talk about them.

The programmes and welfare measures implemented by the Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy government had made their mark in the State.

Stating that the Congress had fulfilled all its commitments given to the State, she wanted people to reaffirm their faith in the party.


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