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BJP dividing society on religious lines: Sonia

Source: PTI
December 15, 2007 16:50 IST
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After Gujarat, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday turned her attention to Himachal Pradesh elections, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of "dividing the society on religious lines".

Addressing an election rally in Una, Gandhi made a scathing attack on the BJP, saying the Congress' opposition to the saffron party was "fundamental".

"While Congress has always worked for uniting the society, the BJP's aim has been to divide the society on religious lines," she said.

"Their politics is based on pitting one community against other," she said at the meeting, which was also attended by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, state Congress president Viplov Thakur and party candidates from Una district.

Listing efforts of the Congress in the development of the country and Himachal Pradesh, Sonia sought support from the people to move ahead with the task.

"Before independence, the country had to import even small things. We moved ahead on (the road to) economic development under the leadership of Congress and today almost everything is produced within the country," she said.

Referring to the service rendered to the country by Mahatama Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, the Congress leader said the present United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre was making all efforts to fulfil their dream of making India a prosperous country.

BJP had always tried to create hindrance in the Congress' effort of taking the country to greater heights, she alleged and asked the people not to get "befooled" by the saffron party.

Sonia, whose scheduled rallies at Rehan and Mandi earlier on December 11 were cancelled due to inclement weather, praised the performance of Virbhadra Singh government in her 10-minute speech.

The Congress in the hill state has done commendable work for the welfare of widows, elderly people and the disabled by providing them social security pension, she said.

A large number of schools, colleges and medical centres have been opened during the present regime in the hill state, she added.

The UPA government at the Centre has always cared for Himachal Pradesh and extended cooperation in its economic prosperity, Sonia said.

Seeking to establish a chord with women and ex-servicemen who form a sizeable section of voters in the state, Sonia said Congress has always worked for their welfare.

A special cell was opened in the defence ministry for the welfare of the ex-servicemen, she said and also referred to programmes for empowerment of women.

Sonia, addressing her maiden election rally in Himachal, praised soldiers from the state for their sacrifices for the country.

The Congress in Himachal always stood for the development of the state and welfare of the poor and the downtrodden, Sonia said, appealing to the voters to bring the party back to power to ensure their all-round prosperity.

The Congress president is scheduled to address another rally in Shimla later in the day.

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