The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sonia scam punch on PM

New Delhi, Aug. 24: Sonia Gandhi today hit out at the scandal-riddled NDA government, accusing the Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime of following “ghotala dharma (ethics of corruption)” instead of “raj dharma (ethics of good governance)”.

Addressing an impressive rally here, Sonia took potshots at the Prime Minister and his deputy, L.K. Advani, saying the NDA government, though headed by “two leaders”, had failed to curb corruption and fix responsibility. “Ek sarkar mein do do sardar, phir bhi koi nahi jimmedar (One government with two leaders, but no one is being held responsible),” Sonia said as the crowd cheered lustily.

Clearly, much homework had gone into the speech. She seemed more confident, particularly when speaking in Hindi, and greater punch marked her delivery. Sonia also sought to strike a rapport with the crowd, stopping and listening to them. Her efforts appeared to have hit home as some Congressmen quickly dubbed her “Indira II”.

At the rally organised by the Congress’ Delhi unit to “expose” the “scams-tainted and communal” NDA government, Sonia targeted Vajpayee for turning a blind eye to corruption in high places. “I want to know what raj dharma is he practising in the wake of a number of scandals like the Tehelka expose, the casket scam, the UTI scam, the bank muddles and the land deals scam'”

Raising her pitch, Sonia said those in power were indulging in “broad daylight theft and dacoity” and wondered how the leaders could go on advising others on probity in public life without practising it. The BJP, which came to power posing as a nationalist and patriotic party with a difference, had exposed itself as “power hungry” and unwilling to take action against those guilty of corruption, she said.

Sonia also accused the BJP’s central leadership of spreading “communal poison” in Gujarat. “Tomorrow, even if God comes but fails to toe their line, they will raise fingers against him,” she said, referring to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s attack on chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh.

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