The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sonia renews attack on govt

New Delhi, Aug. 23: Taking off from her speech on Tuesday during the no-confidence motion, Sonia Gandhi today accused Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of giving “half-baked and elusive” replies to the nine-point chargesheet she had brought against his government.

Mounting a fresh attack on the BJP-led coalition, Sonia said it is not her party’s duty to save the government that loses no opportunity to blame the Congress for its own failure. The BJP had questioned her decision to move a no-trust motion.

“It is a question in the interest of the country, in the interest of the poor and weak. We extended our hand of friendship to the government, but on the issue of compromise on national security we cannot forgive this government,” she said.

Sonia said the Congress was ruling several states and its governments were performing better than the BJP-led regime. “Our Delhi government does not have full powers (not being a full state), yet it has done much for the development of Delhi.”

Since Independence, when there was no industry and no development in agriculture, the Congress had worked for the country’s progress, she said. “If now we are in a position to compete with the other nations of the world, it is because of the Congress party.”

But the BJP-led government has been unable to keep up that tempo and was blaming its failures on the Congress, she said. “Yeh kahawat hai: Ulta chor, kotwal ko dante.”

The NDA government is unable to set up new factories but is selling off PSUs set up during successive Congress regimes, she added.

Sonia was dedicating a Rs 9.5-crore sports stadium in the memory of Rajiv Gandhi at Bhawana in north Delhi. The stadium, which can accommodate 18,000 people, is the first in the city to cater to the needs of the youth from the neighbouring rural areas. A 12-foot bronze statue of Rajiv Gandhi was unveiled by the Congress president.

Sonia said her party would not condone the government’s “laxity” and its shortcomings. “Criticism is a natural corollary of parliamentary democracy,” she asserted. “The BJP is a corrupt party which has played with national security, ruined farmers and spoiled the career of youth,” she charged.

The Congress chief lauded the Sheila Dikshit government for doing a “remarkable” job and dismissed the BJP-proposed statehood bill as a sham.

Accusing the BJP of playing with the sentiments of Delhi’s residents, she said the bill was introduced keeping elections in mind but it did not offer anything to better the lives of Delhiites.

“Aapne dhyan diya hoga ki har chunav se pahele BJP kuchh jadoo-tona karti hai,” she said.

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