‘Congress will never allow merger of UT’

Seeking blessings:PPCC president A. Namassivayam prostrates before Congress president Sonia Gandhi at an election rally in Uppalam ground in Puducherry on Thursday.— Photo: S.S. Kumar  

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday asserted that the identity of Puducherry, its diversity and plurality can be preserved and protected only by the Congress and DMK alliance.

Campaigning for the Congress-DMK candidates in Uppalam ground and seeking voters’ trust, Ms. Gandhi said that parties such as BJP, AIADMK and AINRC had caused a great deal of damage to Puducherry. She said they had different names but their identity was the same -- “anti-people and anti-Puducherry.”

Referring to the advocacy of some political parties for the merger of Puducherry, Ms. Gandhi said, “That is something our party will never allow (to happen). It is now the right time for you to defeat these opportunistic parties.”

Pointing out that every Congress Prime Minister had given special attention to Puducherry, she said Jawaharlal Nehru took extraordinary measures to preserve the unique identity of the place.

Dig at Smart City

Taking a dig at leaders who are talking about building a Smart City in Puducherry, the Congress president said, “But much before all these, Indira Gandhi gave her support for a township like Auroville. Rajiv Gandhi strove to bring high quality education and health care in Puducherry while Manmohan Singh’s Government ensured that every Central scheme was implemented in Puducherry.

Without naming the AINRC, Ms. Gandhi said that for the last five years, Puducherry was being ruled by a most opportunistic party, which was “willing to join hands with anyone to remain in power.”

“First it joined hands with AIADMK which wants to destroy the identity of Puducherry. In 2014, it joined hands with BJP,” she said.

‘Unemployment rampant’

The Congress president said while Puducherry used to be an industrial centre it was reeling under an unemployment crisis now.

The government, she alleged, was not helping young people to find jobs and they were forced to go to other states in search of employment.

Blaming the government for being insensitive to women, Ms. Gandhi said it had forced women self-help groups to shut down.

“They refuse to conduct local body elections and thereby prevent schedule caste women from participating in local governance. Even children have not been spared. I was shocked to know that the bread-milk scheme which has been launched by our government was stopped,” said Ms. Gandhi in her attack on the ruling party.

Stating that Puducherry was once known for being a peaceful State, she said, “Today crime is on the rise and corruption too is rampant. Businessmen are being forced to leave Puducherry because of these problems.”

Highlighting the UPA’s investments in railway, airport and infrastructure to improve connectivity in Puducherry, she blamed the Modi Government for not even mentioning Puducherry in the last Railway Budget.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 9:05:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/congress-will-never-allow-merger-of-ut/article8563897.ece

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